Eugene Peterson, in his book, “The Pastor” says, “The American stereotype of church. Salvation is God’s business. It is what God does. And then He turns it over to us. Church is our business. It is what we do. God, having given himself to us in Jesus, now retires to the sidelines and we take over. Occasionally we call a time-out to consult with God. But basically, we are the action.” (p. 117)
As I think back to many of my seminary classmates or those who have begun in ministry through my 30 plus years of being a youth pastor I observe how many are no longer in ministry or should no longer be in ministry. There may be any number of factors but one ingredient seems to be very common: believing we are the action.
Those who believe they are the “action” are defined by . . .
- the number of hours they work
- the length of their to-do-list
- how many committees, leadership positions and projects they can juggle at one time
- how many decisions go through them
- the too few days or full vacations they take off
- the minimal time they spend studying the Bible for themselves, in personal prayer with God
- the lack of time they give to their spouse and families as their number one ministry
This is not my ministry. It never was, it is not now nor will it ever be. There will always be more things to do and lives to shepherd. It is all God’s business, I am his servant and I desire to live life in His rest, and finish well. That’s my kind of action.