I just got done listening to Dan Miller on his 48 Days to the Work You Love internet radio show. While I no longer am really searching for work and am very happy with my current life, I also realize that there are things that I can do to make myself better. In the process I can also do everything I do better to the benefit of all the people I get to serve. Dan Miller has been someone who has inspired me greatly over the years and I continue to gain quite a bit of wisdom from him.
The show today was a little different. The title was among the most thought provoking I have seen in quite some time: Apparently God Wants Me to Be Miserable. In this show Miller unpacks some of our attitudes toward our work, especially from a faith perspective. He dealt with things like people who consider wanting to do a job they love to do as being worldly and improperly motivated, and people who feel like serving God has to mean suffering. Of particular interest to me though was something I have long struggled with—the concept of being in full-time ministry. I have longed for this for most of my life for the past 20 years and am finally living it.
As stated before I am very happy. I love pastoring my congregation and my creative arts ministry. Both are a tremendous blessing to me. I love it, but I am also very clear on the fact that pastoring is not the only way to minister. Miller also takes issue with identifying only that type of work as full-time ministry and his argument is compelling.
He correctly states (I believe) that the work he does in the business world, helping people to become the very best they can be and finding fulfilling work is ministry as well and if it ceases to be ministry, he invited his listeners to “call him on it” because he is not doing something right if it isn’t. This really resonated with me. Most of my ministry is dedicated to helping people come to know and follow Jesus and helping them to use their gifts and talents to work to the glory of God. Can that be done in the local church? By all means, but that is far from the only venue. Our talent were meant to be taken beyond the walls of the church and to the world beyond. As the proverbs say Do you see a man skilled in his work. He will serve before kings. When we are at our best, doing our best, contributing the greater good, all these things can bring God glory. All of these things can draw people to God ad point people to Christ.
To be clear, I don’t think God wants you to be miserable. I think He has gifted you to do great things in this world. Things that matter and make a difference and it’s really hard to miserable when you’re living out your call. A sense of purpose and the leading of the Spirit should be enough to help you through the tough times. God never promised ease. What He did promise was to be with us through this life. Living out your true purpose may be tough, but it won’t be misery. Any good thing that we do can be ministry and probably should be ministry. That word “ministry” means “service” remember?
You were created on purpose for a purpose and when you live that purpose to the glory of God and your neighbor’s good, you know what that’s called, right?
It’s called ministry. You’re a minister and if you’re not, you should be!