The mundane magic of ministry

Last Wednesday I shared a quote about believing that there is relevance and significance even in the mundane tasks.

Timely.

What a week.

Some days, I just want ministry to feel different.

I want magic.  I want to feel possessed by the Spirit of God.  I want mountaintop moments. I want angels who will bust down jail cell walls.Screen Shot 2013-06-23 at 5.39.14 PM

I’ve experienced those moments.  They’ve been real and powerful.

But more and more I’m starting to see that much of deep discipleship rests its head in the mundane.

In my life, development has rarely felt romantic or inspiring.

I’ve grown most in grasping the grace of forgiveness after failing God in ways I never dreamed.

I’ve been transformed in my trust of His sovereignty through failed projects and father’s funerals.

I’ve seen my heart’s obsession with power and control be loosened through rebuke from my leadership and conflict with my roommates.

None of those things felt very magical.

Here’s the truth: I’m in very real danger of trading actual signifciance to feel like I’m part of something significant.

I’m in danger of trading the great ministry entrusted to me to do things that feel like ‘great’ ministry.

I was talking with a friend last week about marriage.  She pointed out that love endures.  Love is patient.  Love is kind.  And therefore it is  most visible – not on the wedding day or the dream date – but during the 3 AM feedings and the changing of diapers and the cleaning of spit-up.

Love – the deep and binding kind – knits two people together through weathering storms.  It doesn’t always feel romantic.  It rarely feels like the movies.  It involves failure and sinners who have hurt each other and endured.

And honestly, that’s ministry to me: cleaning spit-up and failure and sinners who hurt each other and endure.

It’s more than the romance of a well-delivered message or an inspiring blog post.

It’s found in resolving conflict and listening to complaints and meeting anger with grace and taking the hits of people you long to love.

It’s moms who set their alarms for 5 AM so they can meet and pray together before their kids get up.  It’s husband’s who fight through awkwardness and insecurity to pray a clumsy prayer over their wife as she falls asleep.  It’s single folks who will shut down the pity party and spend their evening praying for a friend instead.

I want to be a part of moving this kingdom forward.  I want to see true and lasting change.  And I think that means I have to stop living for moments that feel extraordinary, and instead start living ordinary moments with extraordinary faith.

Sometimes I will get the great joy of standing and teaching and inspiring and stirring hearts through God’s Spirit.  Some days I will get to make magic.

But those moments – they are no more ministry than marriage is date nights. They are important.  They re-set focus.  But they are designed to give renewed passion for marriage, not be marriage.

The true glory of both marriage and ministry is found in washing feet.

I am praying today that I will be willing to trade ‘feeling like I’m in the fight’ for being in the fight.

I am praying to be a part of a people who live ordinary moments with glorious intentionality: spouses who serve one another for the joy set before them, moms and dads who spend every drop of their spiritual gifts on their kids when no one is even looking, people who will count their next door neighbors as more significant and have compassion on the driver who cuts them off in traffic.

I am praying that God will use me to be a part of building a people like that by giving me the faith to love the needy and random people who get in the way of me and my moments of magic.

I want to fight to believe that the most mundane moments lived in faith will be revealed to be the most magical of them all on the flip side.

I do believe. Help my unbelief. 

Comments

  1. Claire Wiggins says:

    Ahh, Fabs, thank you so much for articulating so well an idea/conflict that has been churning in me for about two years. “But they are designed to give renewed passion for marriage (ministry), not be marriage.” That makes so much sense! I have been thinking I need those magical moments every single day in ministry, and it’s just…not going to happen. And to God be the glory for that, because like you, I really get to know Him in the mundane, difficult, and confusing/awkward moments – the ones that are not always shiny and pretty.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a year this September and the Lord has taught me endlessly through your words, which are full of honesty and always point me back to the gospel. So thank you!! Don’t know why this is my first comment, haha.

Speak Your Mind

*