Monday, January 22, 2007

Don't take yourself too seriously

One of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn is not to take myself too seriously.  I don't like to be teased, and when I mess up I would prefer for others not to notice-- let alone point it out and have a laugh.

But I've learned that I need to laugh at myself more frequently.  As I realize my own brokenness more thoroughly, I must admit that I am both unworthy and unable to accomplish the things I set out to do, without the work and strength of my Savior.  Rather than hiding my failures, by acknowledging them I can give glory to God that He is able when I am not.

When it comes to ministry, this is essential.  Pastors and ministry leaders are already set apart and viewed differently from their constituents.  It is easy for someone like me to play into this, allowing others to believe that I am able to do so much-- when honesty would reveal that I am afraid of failure and of being found out as a failure. 

A conversation with a search committee member brought up the possibility of someone being "over-qualified" for a particular position.  I don't think it is possible for anyone to be over-qualified for pastoral ministry.  There is a big difference between being trained and experienced and "qualified" in the common sense of that term-- and anyone who thinks they are over-qualified is probably someone to be wary of. 

[Of course, the real qualifications for ministry are weakness, humility, and vulnerability.  Unfortunately, I'm too prideful to even have those down-- but I hope I'm much closer to that than to the other.]

One of the lessons for ministry that I have learned from a hero of mine, Joe Novenson-- who I am proud to also call a friend-- is that being broken, weak, and unfit is not an obstacle for God to use us for great things in ministry.  Instead, it is something that, when owned and faced, can allow God to bring glory to Himself all the more.

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