Monday, October 08, 2007

Passion or Pastime???

(Here is a post by Evangelist Ron Maggard from his Oct. 8th email ministry newsletter "Let Us Go Into The Next Towns." Although his message is directed towards those who are in "full-time service for the Lord," I have always been one to believe that all of us, no matter what vocation we may be employed, should be a full-time servant of the Lord, and should have a passion to reach and teach and encourage those whom God has placed in our own circle of influence, i.e. family, friends, co-workers, people in our community, and internet acquaintances. Friends, is your service for the Lord a true passion, or is it just another pastime in your life???)

Many preachers today exhibit little real passion for their calling, if indeed it is a calling and not a career choice. More and more pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors and other full-time church employees exhibit little passion for their responsibilities. What was at one time a high and holy calling has become little more than a nine to five and a pay check. Many of these look for the church where they can put in a few hours of face time in the pulpit two or three times a week, a few hours in the office and even less time in soul winning and discipleship. Many of the most popular pastors today are more comfortable with the contemporary corporate titles than the long established biblical ones. This begs the question: are they SHEPHERDS or CEO'S? I believe the ministry calls for greater dedication, sacrifice, and even passion than we can find in even a Fortune 500 company. Where are the pastors who follow the example of Christ when he was weeping over the sheep without a shepherd? Where are the pastors like Him who spent whole nights in prayer, who gave his time to prepare His followers?

Let's take this one example of Paul in Acts 20 to see whether the ministry is Passion or Pastime with us.
  1. Gives 100% - "from the first day - at all seasons" (vs 18)
  2. Has servants heart - not looking to make a name - "serving - with - humility" (vs 19)
  3. Has an undeniable testimony of faithful work - "kept nothing back - profitable" (vs 20)
  4. Has a life that is worth emulating - "have showed you, and have taught you" (vs 20)
  5. Has a credible public ministry - "publickly" (vs 20)
  6. Has a house to house ministry - "house to house" (vs 20)
  7. Not a respecter of persons - "both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks" (vs 21)
  8. Available for compassionate ministry 24 / 7 - "night and day with tears" (vs 31)

Brethren, I am not saying there are none with passion in the ministry today. What I am saying is that many times they have more passion for their pastimes than for their ministry. Many have unmistakable passion for football, baseball, golfing, fishing, camping, internet surfing, game playing, and a myriad of other pastimes. What would happen if the same passion, pursuit, participation, practice and perseverance were shown for the ministry as is shown for these other interests? God alone knows. What is your ministry? Passion or Pastime?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Julie's Jewels said...

Excellent post!! I'm afraid this article is very true. My husband considers his calling a very precious thing and is offended at anyone saying his pastorate is nothing more than a "job". He tells them it is not. If people would only realize that the pastor that does as God requires and asks of a pastor they are the most "underpaid" position of anyone in the church. My husband's position is a passion. He is ready for anyone in our church at any time of day or night. He is sitting down with one of the men in our church now and going over some questions he has about the Bible and such. He takes time out of his schedule to be there for his people no matter the time or situation.

But there are pastors out there that have people who are in positions to do the work for the pastor. All the pastor does is pray, study and preach. And I say all but I mean just those things. They have someone to make hospital visits for them (I'm sorry...I want my pastor when I'm in the hospital) to go soul-winning on behalf of the church and the pastor so he doesn't "have" to. And whatever else needs done those people do it. The pastor is only required to do "his" duties. That is so sad to me.

I appreciate a pastor who has a heart and a burden for the church and will do all he can to minister to the people who are in the church...and to visit anyone that asks or needs a visit.

Thank you for this post Bro. Jim. I guess I got on my soapbox didn't I? I'm sorry to make this so long. But I've heard those who have attacked my husband about this thing...and sadly enough it was a family member that said those things.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Sis. Julie,

Those soapboxes come in quite handy when it's time to speak about about an important topic; I like to bring out mine from time to time!!!

Unfortunately, family members are most likely to bring discouragement in our walk with the Lord; it's happened before with me, and I am sure many Christians can testify about the same thing in their service for the Lord. Simply smile, show them genuine love, and go on serving Him!!! From experience, don't react to their criticism; it's not worth the battle and impacts your service for Him. The Devil uses our family to hinder our submission and obedience to the Lord. Don't allow him to hinder your walk with the Lord!!!

OK.... I'm putting my soapbox away!!! :) :) :)

7:19 PM  
Blogger Bro Tim said...

Bro Jim what a tremendous post. I am with Mrs Julie about Bro Ron he takes the ministry as a passion. I have told are people they need me I am there. We are getting ready to start a visistation program this month. It will be the first visitation program for several years at the church. So we are going to start slow and work them Lord Willing to a point to where they look forward to coming out and reaching lost souls. The Lord has already been helping it this area of having a passion for the church. I look forward to seeing what God will allow us to do with his help at this church. Thanks for the post.

Bro Tim

2:32 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Bro. Tim,

Thank you for the kind words regarding the post... I'm glad to hear how the Lord has been blessing you and your new church family; I'll be praying for your visitation ministry. I know the Lord will bless your sincere efforts to share the Gospel with those neighbors and town members around your first church.

5:34 PM  

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