Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Ministry couldn't provide Concrete can:

(Picture above: Jacob is brooming & I'm on my knees troweling cement)

I love ministry immensely, I enjoy devoting my life to it and feel it's my calling.  Yet, there's something that I get out of working in concrete that ministry can't provide.  I just finished up a driveway, one I've been fitting in on weekends and evenings.  As I looked over the final pour last night, I thought about a particular reward concrete offers that I never captured in ministry.

Working concrete, daily I enjoy the outdoors -- smelling grass, fresh fields and the earthy aroma of the broken ground.  I see the stars (I leave before the sunrises and get home after dark most of the time).  Working concrete has helped me to shed a few pounds too....  There's a great feeling of comradery when a crew is on the same page.  My awareness of the weather increases, and I'm taught to appreciate the days it doesn't rain so we can work, and the rain-days so my body can rest.  My body feels fatigue, a good fatigue, and so I hit the pillow drained but the endorphins flowing from a hard day's work trick me into thinking the physical stress is good.

All of these are nice, but these aren't what I'm talking about.

In ministry one never really has a sense of accomplishment, not in the sense of completion that is.  Concrete gives this type of peace of mind.  Ah, there's the start, middle, and end of the job.  We break ground, and in a certain time, we wrap up our tools and sweep up and we're gone.  Looking back, you can see the challenges, and see the project through.  You form up the pour, dump the concrete, finish it, strip off the boards, clean up and go.  In ministry, Sunday morning always comes around; sermons don't write themselves...  There's always another meeting to attend, a bulletin article to write, a visit to make.  A new believer needs more discipleship.  Building projects need to be paid off or maintained.  On and on... Again, I love ministry, but there's that element of the ministry where there's no end in sight.  One could literally work 24/7 and never finish all there is to do in congregational ministry.

I doubt I've really explained it well.  Think of this like you were on KP duty, forever.  You're in front of a five foot high pile of potatoes that no matter how hard or how fast you peel them, there will never be a day when you are done peeling...  BTW: I actually like peeling potatoes and making homemade mashed-potatoes too.

In ministry, which is a great way of life, people need nourishment from the Word, because we are all growing in our faith we have cycles of ups and downs, people are coming into the faith, others are struggling in their faith.  Faith is a living, breathing reality that is dynamic and, and, and, well you get the picture, serving in the realm of faith doesn't have a finish-line, there's no final culmination where everything is summed up.  Let's face it, everyone enjoys the satisfaction of either finishing a homework project or remolding job around the house some time in their life.

I think God enjoys a sense of completion.  He created the creation, then rested on the 7th day.  He commands a Sabbath rest for His people.  He has a day when He will bring time to an end.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the aspect of ministry that seems more like a treadmill than a marathon most of the time; it's part of the territory.  Still, I am human, and I really enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done...