I was able to enjoy the movie Creed, a story from the Rocky series in which Rocky Balboa coaches Apollo Creed’s son against tremendous odds. The last scene features Rocky and Adonis Creed climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. As they admire the view, Rocky says, ‘You know if you look hard enough, you can see your whole life from up here.’ This line made me take pause and think about how will look back and view my time as a minister, as a disciple, as a child of God. So often I lose sight of what is most important and forget to ask ourselves the big questions. Who are you? What do you want to do with your life? Why are you here? Where do you belong?
These are the big questions. When was the last time you ask yourself them? How have your answered changed?
In life’s unforgiving pace you can be swept away by tasks, schedules, logistics and meetings. All of these items can be good things and have their proper place, but without the greater context, you can find yourself in ministry seeking to make a little room for God. Instead, our life should flow from the fact that you are helplessly caught up in the story of God. These questions help you get caught to this reality. They point to the reality that there is a bigger plan, a wisdom that exists to bring you to where you are. A friend of mine constantly encourages me to ‘bloom where you are planted.’ Upon investigation, this quote likely originated from St. Frances de Sales. Asking ourselves the big questions should not always result in the same answers as time marches on. Look at the soil that you are in; you are bound to be planted differently than a few years ago. Here are a few examples that require your ministry and how you execute your mission to change over time.
Identity: Marriage & Children change your identity. The long hours you once committed to ministry may have to be allocated to ministering to those in your own home.
Age: You may no longer belong out on the field as a player, but rather on the sideline as a coach. I still love playing ultimate Frisbee with the teens I serve, but I cannot play without my knee braces and inhaler. As you anticipate aspects the require you to change your approach, empower others to continue as ‘players’ if the need still exists.
Environment: Has the environment around you changed? Maybe a new pastor or ministry leader is present or perhaps the demographics of the community you serve are different. Having an adaptable approach to accomplishing the mission you are tasked with is vital for longevity in ministry.
Plato is credited with stating that ‘an unexamined life is not worth living.’ Take some time to examine your life now, it will make looking back at the end a great joy.
Ask yourself the big questions. Then live the answers, I am certain that it is your pathway of discipleship.
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