Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An attitude of gratitude

Occasionally, I meet pastors who seem to regret entering the ministry.  Some have no enthusiasm about what they do.  Their sermons lack passion.  These pastors are either legalists, quick to condemn everything with which they disagree, or they are apathetic and don't seem to care what anyone does.  These pastors do little, if anything, to improve their ministry skills.  Being around such pastors for any length of time will suck the life out of anyone.  I know they have to be miserable, and they make most people who comes into contact with them miserable.

Anyone God has called into ministry should be filled with gratitude for the opportunity He has entrusted to them.  Despite our weaknesses and failures, God has called us into ministry.  He has selected us to watch over His church.  He has seen within us the gifts and strengths we will need to fulfill this call on our lives  I know better than anyone my own weaknesses and shortcomings, and it makes me marvel that God would call someone like me to serve as a minister.  After 30 years of ministry it still amazes me and fills me with gratitude for the privilege He has given me.

As a minister I have had the opportunity to be with persons at some of their most exciting times and some of their most sorrowful.  I have been able to celebrate with people, and I've been able to comfort them when they were hurting.  I've been allowed to pray with people as they have invited Jesus Christ into their lives for the first time.   I've seen people's lives transformed as they began to apply biblical teachings to various aspects of their lives.  God has given me opportunities to speak to pastors and lay leaders from many denominations in the United States and Canada.  As a boy who grew up on dairy farms and who worked for many years on machine and assembly lines in a factory I could have never dreamed God would have given me the opportunities He has.  When I pause long enough to think about what God has done in my life I can't help but be filled with gratitude.

Of course, that's the problem isn't it?  Many of us are so busy doing all the things expected of us that we seldom stop long enough to remember how God called us from whatever we were doing to the ministry.  We become so focused on the difficulties of ministry that we forget that the One who spoke the worlds into existence spoke to us at some time in our lives calling us to serve Him as ministers.  We forget that the God who knows all things and knows us better than we know ourselves called us to serve His people.  We owe it to our calling and to God to stop occasionally to remember God's call on our lives and to express our apprecation to Him for such trust.

Being grateful for our calling will make us better ministers.  It will give us the grace and mercy we need when ministry is challenging.  Being grateful for our calling will help us become better servants.  Maintaining an attitude of gratitude will allow ministry to be a joy.  So often I've wondered why God would ever have called someone like me to the ministry, but He did, and I'm grateful for that call.  I hope you are too.

1 comment:

Tom said...

It's interesting that about three and half hours before you posted this I was on the treadmill praying for God to give me an "attitude of gratitude". There has been so much negativity around me recently that I needed some divine light to shine into the darkness. I needed to feel some gratitude for something. Praying for the spirit of gratitude opened the window onto all the wonderful blessings in my life. That even included some of the things I perceived as negative.