the fire that burns from within

Uncategorized Aug 04, 2021

Every single one of us was made in God’s image for a purpose.  We tend to read scripture and generalize that purpose, assigning ourselves a list of tasks and ministries that we should do.  We know, for instance, that we should feed the hungry, care for widows and orphans, and share the love of God in his words and deeds. But where and how we do these things is as infinitely variable as the infinite nature of God. 

The church has a vested interest in keeping programs going.  I once knew a church so fixed in its traditions that one of the pastors said to me, “If the Rapture (Christ’s return) were to happen on the day of the annual mother/daughter banquet, the women of the church would say to Jesus, ‘Sorry, we can’t leave until tomorrow.’”  We laugh, but how many ministries once begun, keep going long after the person who envisioned them left…not only keep going, but must be maintained in exactly the same way, with the same format?

Ministry is not the same as mission.  Mission is like the burning bush, the fire that burns from within but does not consume. Ministry withoutmission is the fire that causes burnout.  

There are ten commandments that God designed for us for to flourish, and we should make it our goal to live lives without murder, theft, lying, covetousness, etc.  But Jesus promises us that a Helper will be sent to be with us forever.  That Helper, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the heart of each Christ-follower, sparking a fire within each of us individually—that is the spark that can ignite a mission that we can articulate and that animates every project we take on and enlivens each ministry we participate in.  Here’s mine: 

         “ My mission is to appreciate and challenge my family and community with resonant stories from literature and my life”.

When I’m doing what comes from that central mission, I’m in my sweet spot, and I feel energized to keep going…sometimes for years at a time.  

Have you considered why you were created?  What do you feel called to do and empowered to do?  That kind of mission can move into ministry…it can even move mountains! 

Love, Liz

Photo by Gretchen Bayer