In His Service
Reading Jenn's blog about her friend Matt got me to think about those who serve in ministry and to write down a few thoughts. Jenn by the way is a fellow blogger whom I have not met in person, but were introduced to each other's blogs through Jenny Smith. Her blog has now become a favorite of mine, so go check it out.
Over the years, I have known people who have gone into full time ministry in various capacities. What they do come in all shapes and sizes. Some like Matt work on college campuses with students in various outreach programs to spread the good news, and some people have gone to remote places overseas and submerged themselves into strange cultures for the same purpose.
Most of the people I've known are highly talented and educated individuals who would have been very successful in non-ministry careers (I hesitate to use the term 'secular' for various reasons I won't go into right now). And some even have left lucrative mid-careers in their 30's and 40's to join the legions of people in ministry.
Whether or not you agree with what they believe to be the "good news" or their tactics, you've got to admire them for putting their money where they mouths are. While Matt's peers are slaving away on their first jobs in corporate America as ambitious twenty somethings in hopes of impressing their bosses in exchange for career advancement, he has taken a step of faith and chosen "the road less traveled."
At the risk of making sweeping generalizations based on small samples, I have observed that they seem to be more content with and grateful for their lives even though they work a lot more for much less pay. One missionary once joked that his gross annual income was, well, gross.
I often think back on my college days of a friend of mine named Kelly who is currently serving overseas with the Campus Crusade for Christ. After an unforgettable trip to Urbana 87 in my junior year in college, many of us caught the World mission fever and professed our eargerness and enthusiasm to respond to the Great Commission. We spoke of the future when we would storm into places untouched by the good news and turn the world upside down.
But my friend Kelly was always steady in his pursuits without saying much. Rarely did he talk of plans to go to the mission field unless asked, and he spent most of his time making steps to prepare rather than talking. While many of us, including myself paraded around with banners grandstanding about our future plans, he marched on quietly and resolutely with no fanfare, undetered by several obstacles including strong opposition from his family and a myterious illness that almost claimed his life.
Today he is in his 15th year in Asia while most of us have stormed into very comfortable lives in suburbia USA and turned the burgers on the BBQ grill upside down.