Ministry of the Present

 

One of the great blessings of being part of a small group Bible study is how God often uses those times together as a way of teaching one another.  I had a great reminder of this just a couple of weeks ago.  I was meeting with a couple of guys from my church.  One of them mentioned how a friend was talking with him about being in a time of transition in his life.  He said that he felt like God was up to something major and would be calling him to something bigger and better soon.  My friend shared about how his concern that this person was constantly worrying about the “next” step in his Christian life and encouraged him to be patient and learn to appreciate what God is doing in the present.

As I reflected further on this discussion, I think that these are wise words and they really spoke to me.  Right now I feel like I am standing on the axis of three different branches of the Christian world:  college ministry, seminary, and the local church.  In each of these spheres I’ve heard similar sentiments as the one expressed to my friend:  “God is up to something…He has bigger plans for me…”  Often when people encounter God and begin to experience His calling on their lives, they begin to realize that God is calling them into something far greater than what they had been settling for, and it is a freeing experience.

However, I also think that there are times when we take this attitude a little too far, viewing our faith journey through the lens of upward mobility.  This is a problem because it can infect our spiritual lives with a sense of unhealthy agitation that fails to appreciate the seasons to which God has called us.  The result is that we end up losing the ministry of the present in favor of our constant pursuit of the future.

I felt like this personally hit home because I am also in a time of discernment.  Having served with InterVarsity for almost six years now, I am starting to think about where I would like my ministry career to go next and determine whether or not I have been called to IV for the long haul or if pastoral ministry might be the next step.  I must admit that both of these possibilities are exciting and hold a lot of potential.  However, I need to be careful that I do not neglect the work that God has given me to do in the here-and-now.  While I am looking forward to seeing where this discernment process will lead, I am also  committed to my present calling at UIC, knowing that when the time comes for the next season of my life, God will make that calling just as clear as He made this one.

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