A friend of mine who edits a website wrote this post some time ago and it still resonates. On this Monday after Easter, I appreciate being reminded that we all need to learn how to sit with one another in our graves — not because death is good, but because resurrection is possible.
I also appreciate being reminded of the grace I’ve received on this journey. I am not among those good and faithful pastors who somewhere along the way had the honesty to acknowledge that vocational ministry wasn’t for them (since my teenage years I’ve believed this is where I belong), but I definitely respect their journey. I get it. I’ve been in far too many dark, dark places in these nineteen years of full-time church life to pretend that I might not have ended up in their company.
Maybe I just don’t know how to quit. Maybe it is the mercy of being married to a man who won’t let me quit.
In any case, I can say after nineteen Easters as a pastor that as I look at the big picture of it, the staying has been a mercy. I am grateful I’m still serving the Church of Jesus Christ — still broken for his people, still passionate about preaching the Word. While a lot of vocational ministry isn’t what you’d call “fun,” I have found the grand sweep of it to be so very rewarding.
Not always easy, but always rewarding … always worth it.
There is a depth and beauty to honest, authentic ministry. It isn’t “gungho cheerleading,” as Jennifer says in her post. As she rightly notes, that kind of thing will stifle a spirit pretty quickly. What seems to work best is clinging to the cross … finding a personal resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. It is rooting one’s faith in truth, not emotion, because emotions will kill a calling faster than just about anything.
But clinging to the cross? That is worth spending a lifetime on. Knowing Christ and him crucified is worth every drop of us, even as he expressed on the cross that we are worth every drop of him.
The story is true: Jesus is worthy. The cross is glorious. The good news is worth believing. The Kingdom to come is an absolute assurance. The resurrection is proof.
Blessings on you, my pastor friends, as you live into the resurrection on this glorious Monday, having spent yourself all weekend for the cause of Christ.
(Jennifer Woodruff’s beautifully expressed post on the vocation of serving Christ is here.)