I am a minister. Regardless of what tasks I perform (whether I am teaching in an academic institution, whether I am working in the corporate environment, whether I am with my family at home, or whether I am serving in a Church). I am a minister.
However, in spite of this primary orientation, which is a response to God's call upon my life, I have frequently found myself in a position of 'striving'. I strive to do things that are good, things that are important, things that are significant. Yet, often what I strive for is connected to my own desire and will rather than a response to God's loving and sovereign will.
Here is what is certain - God is at work in the world. God is constantly busy with the work of love. God is lovingly working for justice. God is lovingly working for peace. God is lovingly creating. God is lovingly recreating. God is constantly busy with the work of love.
Over the past few weeks I have had such a strong experience of being invited into God's work of love in the world. It is such a wonderful experience to know that when God invites you to be part of His work you don't need to strive. The only measure of your worth is what God sees in you. You cannot be judged by the inadequate and imperfect standards of the world around you. Only God's standard counts. I believe that God places more importance on the person than on the 'office' that we hold. This does not mean that the office does not matter - in fact quite the opposite. If God calls one into an office, one must perform the tasks with great courage, discipline and creativity (as is fitting for all forms of ministry).
That being said, I have heard some wonderful testimonies over the last few weeks of people who have responded to God's call, an invitation to participate with God in God's work in the world. Some have succeeded by human standards, others have not. A common theme, however, is that each of these persons who has responded to God's loving invitation has had the privilege and joy of doing something that is truly worthwhile, lasting and significant.
The following quote, which is the last of many experiences, readings, realizations, and awakenings, over the last few weeks has been a great encouragement.
Christian ministry is more than doing good. Ministry is an act of service performed either consciously or unconsciously in the name of Christ. Ministry is Jesus Christ expressing his life through us. It is born, therefore, not in activity, but in solitude, where through the spirit we experience the power of life from within. No one becomes a "minister." Rather in trust we so open ourselves to the Spirit that Jesus Christ can express his ministry through us. Prayer and ministry, therefore, are indissoluble. In the stillness of meditative prayer we are confronted by God's loving claim upon us - the most intense intimacy a human being can experience. To know this intimacy we have only to let go. Instead of relying on our own initiative, where we are in control, we discover that we are participating in what God has already initiated within us.- From Ministry and Solitude by James C. Fenhagen.