What comes into mind when we think of ministry or service for God? Pastors always on the run so as not to miss the next appointment? Panic-stricken Sunday school teachers cramming up a lesson for tomorrow’s class? Audience-pressured song leaders trying to use up the few minutes left before service starts to rehearse the line-up hastily prepared last night? In other words ministry is always associated with BUSYNESS … but is busyness synonymous with meaningful ministry? Is God pleased when where always on the run? Always harried and tired looking because of “his work?”
Eugene Paterson wrote: Hilary of Tours diagnosed our busyness in the ministry as irreligiosa sollicitudo pro Deo, a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him.
Whoa!!! It’s so shocking and it hurts … makes me want to defend myself. But Paterson gives us two reasons:
One: I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself – and to all who will notice – that I am important.
Two: I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself …..
It was a fave theme of C.S. Lewis that only lazy people work hard. A little bit unconventional for our thought but if you hear him out he further explains that lazy people abdicate the essential work of deciding and directing, establishing values and setting goals, other people do it for lazy peeps; then they find themselves trying to satisfy a half dozen different demands on their time, none of which is essential in their vocation, to stave off the disaster of disappointing someone.
Peterson gives an example of what he should do first. Prayer.
“I want to do the original work of being in deepening conversation with the God who reveals himself to me and addresses me by name. I don’t want to dispense mimeographed hand-outs that describe God’s business; I want to witness out of my own experience. I don’t want to live as a parasite on the first-hand experience of others, but to be personally involved with all my senses, tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.”
After I’ve read this I was like, Ouch!!!! To the highest level. There are a lot of times when I was so lazy to converse with God that all I do is just being a parasite…. depending the nutritional element of my spiritual growth on the experience of others. Never again.
(Created: June 10, 2009)