If you know me well, then you know that I am training to be a pastor. This is truly an impossible task to do alone, yet fortunately I claim the promises of having the Savior walking with me and having him dwell with me and walking with me (Mt. 28:20); that God is conforming me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-30); and that I am given the “Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). On top of this, God has given me a wonderful wife who demonstrates a humble spirit of service. Her sweet-heartedness continually strengthens and encourages me to become the best husband possible. God also has surrounded me with many wonderful people through the ages.
The task is daunting, but I am not doing this alone.
But what exactly is ministry?
What does it mean to be called and empowered?
Annals filled with tomes have been written to answer such questions over the past two millenia, so I will not act as though I am giving much insight into those questions.
In fact, I would advise reading Augustine’s treatises upon ministry instead (http://amzn.com/B004OG69CE and http://amzn.com/B0007KEEWS).
But this is what I do know. Jesus Christ came humbly. He came born into a home that would have been full of shame and rumors. He would have been considered illegitimate and unwanted.
Yet he was, is, and will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Gospel of Matthew shows him to be the King of the Kingdom of Heaven. And this kingdom is full of the discarded members of society. This kingdom is full of women of ill repute, tax collectors, day workers, and drunkards.
And Jesus did not mind.
In fact, Jesus was so integrally woven into the down-and-outer society that the rich and comfortable called him a glutton and a drunkard (Mt. 11:19).
He was, is, and will be so much a part of the down-and-outer society that he claims anything done for them is done as if it is done directly to and for him (http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/25-31.htm or you can watch Keith Green singing it: http://youtu.be/Ix8ddosjg-k)
As I look at this map, I see people that Jesus would have sat down with. Not only that, He would have invited them over for coffee (or maybe beer?), and propped up his feet on a coffee table or upside down milk crate and just chatted. He would have demonstrated the authority of the Most High God by reaching into their hearts and touching it with love and affection. He would have taken the shirt off his back and given it to the dirty factory worker to wipe his sweat. He would have given the crack cocaine addicted whore a hug. He would have given Jimmy a ride home from school instead of letting him walk for 8 miles. He would have attended the bi-racial wedding and rejoiced.
When I look at this map, I do not see the comfortable places I desire to live. Nope, I see the “worst places to live” and see God calling me to plant my roots there and trust in him to provide. I will encounter storms and struggles–just the like disciples did when Jesus told them to get into the boat (http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/14-22.htm), yet I must realize the same thing that they had to: Jesus is Lord over all! The very storms and trials which wash over our heads are underneath his feet.
And I wish to tell people about this very Jesus, and his kingdom, and teach them to be his disciples.