The REAL Work of Ministry

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I’ve recently been reminded in my reading that work for God must be preceded by being with God. In fact, my work for God must be surrounded by my being with God. Being with God is my most important work.

In my effort to be a good steward of my ministry hours I’ve always considered my “quiet time” as being on my own time and not part of my ministry time. I figure those in my church can’t do their devotions on company time, but have to carve out other time and that I should do no differently. On the other hand, I also see the value of regularly taking time “on the job” to go off and pray in the sanctuary, in a walk around the block, or even drive to a park for some extra time with the Lord. As the Lord’s under shepherd I see such times as conference meetings with the Head Shepherd.

In his book An Unhurried Life, Alan Fadling quotes Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk of the last century. “The fact that our works are done in the service of God is not enough, by itself, to prevent us from losing our interior life if we let them devour all our time and all our strength. Work is good and necessary, but too much of it renders the soul insensitive to spiritual values, hardens the heart against prayer and divine things.” (Loc. 677) Alan Fadling goes on to say, “Overwork is heart-hardening,” and later he writes, “Genuine productivity is indeed the fruit of active abiding in Christ.” (Loc 736)

Charles Spurgeon said, “There is no preparation for the work of God like being with God! Go up into the solitude with Christ; and then, when He calls you, you will be fit to go forth for Him and tell what you have seen with Him in the Holy Spirit.” (Spurgeon Gems, Charles Spurgeon, sermon 2218, Loc 456)

I have to regularly remind myself that my effectiveness in serving the Lord is greatly affected by how much solitude I spend with the Lord. As Fadling says, it’s the “work before the work.”

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