Sunday, April 01, 2012


Our family is on the journey toward full-time ministry and extreme "dying to self". We'll be leaving a very quiet, peaceful, pretty isolated life out in the middle of nowhere to live right in the midst of a city full of people and all their needs.

P7081054 Betsie praying resized

I'll be honest, the selfish, flesh part of me isn't really gunge-ho on the idea. As much as I am a people person, the idea of frequently being interrupted by knocks on the door and phone calls from needy people when I'm trying to have "me" time and "family" time causes a reaction inside me that is definitely not from the Holy Spirit.

For that reason, when I read this blog post by L.A. Joiner, I knew that I needed to take this to heart. I figure some other out there probably need to hear it, too:

Sitting at lunch a young pastor who was just starting out asked, "how do I keep from seeing people as a problem and maintaining the perspective that I truly want to help them?"

I gulped on my iced tea!

After 34 years of dealing with people, counseling hundreds and probably thousands, I knew this was a bigger question than he could ever imagine at this juncture of his ministry. It is a problem of maintaining a positive attitude for ministry in the midst of dealing with negative and often hostile circumstances and people, day after day and year after year.

The answer has all to do with our goals and desires.

If we see ministry as our own family business through which we can obtain worldly goods and put a christian name on it, then we will become most miserable. We will come to despise those who are spiritually in need and resent having to interrupt our lives to minister to them. In essence we will become present day Pharisees.

That was the condition of the ministry when Jesus made his pastoral entrance. Spiritual leaders were more concerned with their own needs than the needs of others. Jesus speaks to this condition in Matthew 10:39 "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."

If a man is looking for his life or his needs to be met in the ministry, he will never find life. If, however, he can learn the lesson of Jesus and lose his life for the sake of Jesus, he finds life in that kind of service. This is the only true way to ensure longevity in ministry. It is in losing that we win. It is only in this "ministry unto Jesus" that we can see needy people as the sheep of the Great Shepherd.

If we have a business mindset, the people become a commodity. If we have a Kingdom mindset, they are the children of God and our service to them becomes a life giving sacred trust.

To read more of L.A. Joiner's writings, visit his blog:

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