Monday, January 02, 2006

The second reading for today is from Ephesians 4. Here is a key passage for me in my call to Grace Lutheran Church:
11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

The key point for me is that my task as a pastor is not to do "the work of ministry" for the rest of the congregation, but "to equip the saints for the work of ministry." Of course, I have ministry work to do, as do all members of the church. But my specific calling as a pastor is not to take someone else's ministry and do it for them, but to encourage, train, and empower others for ministry, to help mobilize the people of God to do God's work in the world. When pastors try to do it all themselves, they burn out. There is just too much to do. When pastors do what they are biblically mandated to do, their burden is shared, and the ministry is multiplied.

On another note altogether: Check out the Cost of War website. It reminds me of Jesus' admonition to count the cost before you undertake any project, including war (Luke 14:28ff.).