(This post is a reflection on several of the teaching themes Joe has been running in different training environments of NieuCommunities in Pretoria over the last month).
There’s a constant inner battle that wages the inner life in ministry. It’s the battle of the important. Dollars tend to follow results, so we spend most (or if we are really honest, all) of our time focusing on yielding more results.
More results = more dollars = more influence = death from overwork.
This cycle crushes sustainable, Christ-centered mission. I know this, but something sick inside my being doesn’t care. I know chocolate is bad for my health, but I confess to eating a bowl of chocolate no-bake cookies for dinner. Three times last week. Same problem, different flavor.
What makes this even more difficult is that other people deal with the same problem and now we help each other escalate our disease. “Our ministry did ___, what’d you guys get done?” Or in the church lingo “whatcha runnin’” (in reference to number of attenders).
Wrong central theme. Wrong questions.
John 5.19 “So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does.” Mission must flow from THIS space, not my monthly newsletter, my annual report, or my whatever.
Obedience requires listening. Listening requires stopping. Stop talking. Stop planning. Stop making agendas.
So I recently looked back over my calendar from the month and I need to go have some time of confession. It’s not that I’ve neglected prayer, but it’s not the first thing, or the most important thing. I want to be obedient, not important. I’ve been alive long enough to figure out that’s all that really matters anyway.