One of my favorite things in life is talking to my best friend Esther. We are able to share life with each other, and one of my favorite things to discuss is our heart for the church. We grew up in the same church in New Mexico, the church she still attends, and I would attend if I lived there still. Inevitably, in sharing our joys about service in the church, we wind up talking about frustrations and heartaches involved in serving in the local church. The people we serve alongside ask too much, or disappoint us, or we end up getting burnt out because we do too much and try to make too many people happy.
This all reminded me of something that Chad said in class on Wednesday about why you get into ministry. He said that you should not get into ministry because you love people, because people will always end up letting you down. You get into ministry because you love God.
This really stuck with me, and I shared it with Esther. I think it is something that is imperative for every Christian to remember while they serve - that the main focus of your service, and the main driving force and reason behind that service, should be for the love of God. If we go into every day of ministry because we love people, eventually people are going to disappoint us, and we will become burdened and tired and potentially angry. But if we involve ourselves in ministry because we have a love for God, and then we serve people with the intent to glorify God, to show that love of God by loving people, then I think our motives are correct, and we run a much lower risk of ministry failure. There is a distinct danger when we see our ministries through human terms, by things that are measured by the response of people. I'm thinking along the lines of the pleasantness of the people, the numerical growth of the congregation - and on the same page, these things can have a negative side, such as the growth not meeting our expectations. When we see success through these humanly determined measurements of results, there is great danger of disaster.
All this to say, I think it rather important (and I so loved hearing it and will keep the message with me for a long time) that we go into ministry, not for the love of the people, but for the love of God.