I was struck by these verses in Ephesians...
Ephesians 3:7-9 (The Message)
7-8"This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.
8-10 And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!"
I was struck by Paul's gratitude. He considered it an absolute privilege to be given the responsibility of ministry (and keep in mind he was in jail as he wrote). I can imagine Paul saying, "Can you believe I get to do this?!? How lucky am I!?!"
It makes me think about how often those of us in vocational ministry lose sight of the joy of our calling. I know we all go through hard times at work, but if we feel "burdened" or "put out" by our responsibilities then perhaps we've allowed joy to be stolen from us. Maybe we've forgotten what a privilege this is. Or, maybe, we've connected ourselves so closely to the tasks of ministry that we've forgotten to connect ourselves closely to the Vine.
I often say to our volunteers, "we can't give away what we don't possess." If our spiritual gauge is on empty, we can't deposit life-giving fuel into others.
Perhaps the secret to longevity and joy in ministry hinges upon this:
The Vine and the Branches
1-3 "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9-10"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.
11-15"I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature."
I am grateful to our God for the privilege to serve Him. Above all else, the true privilege is to seek God and know Him more each day.
It's Sunday night and it is time for some sweet Sabbath time. "Lord, I'm coming to connect with you. Fill me, renew me and continue to use me, I pray."
I Blog Because...
I am a wife, a mom, a servant, a seeker and a follower of Christ. I am blogging to chronicle my own journey with God with the hope to inspire others to deepen their relationship with Him. Perhaps my mistakes and blunders will make you chuckle. Or, maybe, my disappointments, mistakes and learnings will speak to your heart. I often write at night, so forgive the grammatical mistakes and misspellings. This is a place for me to empty my mind and thoughts, with the hope of one day blessing my 2 girls with the raw honesty about life from their mom. I invite you to journey with me and share in my joys and sorrows as I seek to know my Lord. Proverbs 8:17 "I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me."
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