I received this from Gina today and it really spoke to me:
“A Pastor recently reflected that the reason so many of us get burned out is that we start out walking with God and then find ourselves working for God. It is a good question for us to reflect on… Am I walking with God or working for God? Is God the center of my being or have my personal aspirations for God taken God’s place?”
As soon as she sent it, I knew I’d share it and write about it a bit.
For those of us in “church work” or those of us who give much of our time and energy to church life, this is a very valid question, indeed. My journey, like so many of us, began with a type of falling in love… I wanted so much to share with others this experience I had of Jesus Christ, and the power of his love. In fact, my answer to one of the questions on the seminary application form, Why do you want to be a priest? was, “Because I love Jesus.” I amplified this answer at length, but that’s how I began my response. It’s still the answer today. I love Jesus. I love his gospel and the message he proclaimed in history and still proclaims through Scriptures, His body the church, and so many of His followers.
However, keeping this vision, this love, alive requires taking time and energy to foster and live the relationship. It’s not always easy to keep this love in mind when one contemplates the, shall we say, less pastoral aspects of parish ministry, the part of “working for God” that involves meetings, fund-raising, administration, and other various and sundry concerns. What I am learning, however, is that this, too, is where we love Jesus, where we try to walk with Him as well as work for Him.
Finally, to walk with and not only work for also takes a commitment to take as much time for renewal and prayer and reflection as we spend on the busy-ness of working for the kingdom.
“I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.” Ephesians 3:7