A few weeks ago I was chatting to a friend about my almost 2 years experience as a student minister – both at my previous and current church. One of the things that I was thinking about was that I’m often not sure who is supposed to be teaching me. Not at all meaning who teaches me the Bible and godly living, but who teaches me to do ministry? How to respond to issue that come with people I minister to? Who teaches me to think about boundaries and support networks? What to expect? In other words – who prepares me for the rest of my life??
Something that would fall into these categories somewhere is the ability to know the difference between caring about someone and trying to take responsibility for another person’s actions. This is something that I struggle with. Often if someone I know and love makes a decision I perceive to be unwise my reaction is one of two (or possibly both) things.
1. I will immediate start to blame myself, wondering how I let them down and what I could have done better/differently to change their decision
2. I see this as a personal rejection. Particularly if their decision is one that sees them turn from God, what I see is they have turned from me.
A result of this is that my world becomes about this thing, this decision. And it weights me down. I carry burdens that are not mine to carry. And eventually I crack!
So I have known for a little while that this is what I do but I have failed to really think it through clearly and learn how to react in a better and more godly way to things. But the last few weeks I have had a massive lesson in this, from an amazing teacher.
Two weeks ago at church our sermon was on Galatians 6:1 -10. It was a timely lesson in sharing burdens and carrying our own load. And even more importantly, not growing weary in doing good.
Tonight I read an article on the Resurgence blog. Here are some exerts –
One of the most important skills every Christian, especially a ministry leader, must learn is the distinction between a concern and a responsibility. The younger the Christian or ministry leader, the more likely they are to lack the skill of discerning concerns and responsibilities. In my own pastoral ministry, failures in this area have contributed to extreme overwork and exhaustion.
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Scripture, of course, says it perfectly. Galatians 6:2–5 admonishes us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. . . . For each will have to bear his own load.”
At first glance, this Scripture passage seems contradictory but it is not. It says that everyone, by himself or herself alone, should carry whatever load God has placed in his or her backpack. It also says that Christians should take some burdens out of the backpacks of some people and put them in their own packs and carry them out of love. In the Greek, the difference is between the words “load” and “burden.”
* * * * *
Are you a Christian leader who is weighed down by all the loads you are carrying for others who need to carry their own load? How have you sinned by allowing concerns to become responsibilities and others’ loads to collectively become your burden?
(Read the whole thing here)
These have been timely lessons for me.
But I have also received an answer to my question of who is my teacher. Neither my minister nor Mark Driscoll prepared these lessons especially for me. But God did. He is my teacher and he will prepare me for the rest of life – and I’m so thankful!
Wow, what a powerful lesson. I know exactly what you mean, I really struggle with both those feelings. What a good way to think about these things.
And what a great teacher we have!
Belinda I’m glad i’m not the only one! I hope you have a chance to read the full article from resurgence – its pretty short. Its great!