No Excuses in Ministry
It is always easy to find excuses for not doing the good works that we know we should be doing. Whether it’s witnessing to the lost, seeking and reaching out to those in need, discipling/helping others in our Church, witnessing to family members or sometimes even spending time in organized/formal prayer and study of Scripture.
There’s always work to be done for us to make an income and provide for our family, there’s always doctor appointments, general errands, chores, etc. Our Lord has quite a lot to say about such excuses, perhaps most cogently in this passage from the end of Luke 9:
“As they were going along the road, someone said to [Jesus], ‘I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ And He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But He said to him, ‘Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.’ Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” –Luke 9:57-62 (NASB)
Imagine a youth pastor saying these things to students interested in a mission trip. Imagine a kid coming up to the youth pastor and saying “I’d like to go on this trip with you guys” and the pastor saying “Ok, just know that we will definitely not have a safe place to sleep at night.” Imagine another kid comes up and says “I’d like to go on this trip, but my dad just died” and then imagine the pastor saying “What does your dad’s being dead have to do with this trip? If you want to go, then let’s go.” I’m not sure that youth pastor would be able to stay employed!
The reality is, however, that Our Lord leaves no room for excuses. If we are to be followers of Him, then we are to take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). That literally means that we are supposed to be dead to ourselves. My own selfish desires and wants are to be completely dead and done away with.
This may seem unloving, but that’s only the case if you don’t understand the full picture. You see, we as humans are beings created in the image of God for the purpose of glorifying and serving God. Anything else we do is ultimately harmful to us.
There’s no benefit to being comfortable, there’s no benefit to morning a lost loved one and there’s no benefit in a prolonged goodbye. None of these are bad things on their own, but when the Lord calls us to action we are simply to act. In those moments, something like a propensity towards comfort can actually become sinful.
I think of it as a parent. I give my kids gifts because I love them. For them to enjoy their gifts is not a bad thing, in fact I want them to enjoy the gifts I give them. For example, let’s say that I’ve just bought my son a new toy. I want him to play with that toy obviously and I’m glad when he enjoys it. But, when I tell him to clean his room or to come to the car, it would not be good if he loved that toy so much that he failed to do what I told him.
For most of us in the United States right now, we are under quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus. Sports are on hold, many of us are working from home, traffic is at a record low, restaurants, concerts and virtually all social gatherings are on hold. How many of those things were excuses for us in the past? Take advantage of the opportunity afforded you.
You may be wondering what Our Lord is calling you to at this very moment. If that’s the case, then prayerful reading of the Scripture has the answer. One thing for sure is that you are called, as a Christian, to make disciples. We talk about that in this post here.
Our Lord expects us to live a life in active service to the Kingdom, and that is what we are to do- no excuses!