The Cumulative Nature of Ministry

Grady D. King – 

Last week I had breakfast with good, long term friend in ministry.  He got me through a very difficult season in my young preaching life over thirty years ago.  As we sat down at the restaurant I asked him, “How are you? One word, “Tired!”  He asked the same of me. One word, “Tired!”  It’s not that we don’t feel called to do what we do or that we don’t enjoy it and find kingdom meaning in it.  It’s simply that ministry is all consuming—mind, body, soul and spirit. We talked personal. We talked family. We talked ministry—culture, church, kingdom, gospel, faith, hope and love.   It all boils down living into the high calling of loving God and neighbor. During the conversation, he said, ministry is cumulative. 

After a time of mutual confession with a trusted friend, a good country breakfast, lots of coffee and Dr Pepper (him, not me), I was energized.
All the people, situation, struggles, fear, hopes, joys, and certainly sorrows.  Even when you leave a congregation—there is still a tie because of people. The messages, calls, invitations to life events keep coming.  It’s a good thing, and I would be concerned if it were not the case.  Yet, it is why both of us, who are the same age and spent years in congregational ministry could say honestly, “I am tired!” After a time of mutual confession with a trusted friend, a good country breakfast, lots of coffee and Dr Pepper (him, not me), I was energized. As I got in my car, I wasn’t as tired anymore. I was ready to continue in this life of ministry that is, without a doubt, cumulative when loving God and neighbor is not an option.  The difference—breakfast with a trusted friend.

Our friendship began over thirty years ago when one of us said, “Help!”  He did.  As I think about that time several things became very clear.

  • He was willing to be present—consistently!
  • He offered good resources for my ministry—consistently!
  • He challenged my thinking and what was my focus as a minister—consistently!
  • He always asked, “What do you want me to pray for?”—consistently!
  • He instilled hope no matter what I was feeling or experiencing—consistently!

So, the breakfast last week was long overdue.  Now it is mutual ministry, cumulative as it is!

I am grateful. Thank you, Lord!

I was ready to continue in this life of ministry that is, without a doubt, cumulative when loving God and neighbor is not an option.

My prayer, even when I am tired—

 O God, from my youth you have taught me,
          and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
 So even to old age and gray hairs,
          O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might
          to all the generations to come.
Your power and your righteousness, O God, reach the high heavens.
          You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?

Ps 71.17-19

Amen!

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