Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To Serve Is to Suffer
by Ajith Fernando
If the apostle Paul knew fatigue, anger, and anxiety in his ministry, what makes us think we can avoid them in ours?

Paul's theology emphasized the need to endure frustration patiently as we live in a fallen world awaiting the redemption of creation. Paul said that we groan because of this frustration (Rom. 8:18-27). I believe we fail to include this frustration in our understanding of vocational fulfillment. A church that has a wrong understanding of fulfillment for its workers will certainly become sick. This may be one reason why the church contains so much shallowness. We have measured success by the standards of the world and fail to challenge the world with the radically different biblical way to fulfillment.

The contemporary emphasis on efficiency and measurable results makes frustration even harder to endure. In the past four centuries, industrial and technological development in the West made efficiency and productivity top values. With rapid economic development, things once considered luxuries became not only necessities but also rights in the minds even of Christians. In this environment, the Christian idea of commitment has taken a battering.

We call our churches and Christian organizations "families," but families are very inefficient organizations. In a healthy family, everything stops when a member has big needs. We are often not willing to extend this commitment to Christian body life.

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