Working From Acceptance, Not For It

I have been recently contemplating a move back to my hometown to complete an internship with Redeemer Fellowship Church. It would mean a lot of sudden changes in a very short period of time. Since it would be such a drastic change, I thought I’d run it by friends and family, including my beloved parents. I love my parents dearly, but sometimes it can be frustrating talking to them. I know they only have my best interest at heart, but sadly something’s they just don’t quite understand.

As I was discussing the internship and other stuff, I had to endure statements like “maybe your not ready for the ministry… God only calls those who are ready. Maybe you should wait and do something else and God will call you later”. And things like, “Enough of the learning, you need a job” (this one is real talk and also very humorous). Now there is validity to these comments. But for me, these words kind of hurt. Behind them is the assumption that the minister or pastor needs to have everything perfected. Clearly , my parents know me well, and they know I’m not perfect. This is called legalism, the very thing that Jesus confronted the Pharisees with in the gospels. No pastor, minister, teacher, or lay person has reached a perfected life. Paul says no one is perfect, not one (Rom 3:10). It’s unfortunate the we place these perfected requirements on the Pastor’s and we place them on very high pedestals. And if/when he fails, it’s so devastating. That’s not to say that we don’t press and do our best to live pleasing and acceptable lives, but we do it with the reality that we (pastors, teacher, ministers) are broken too, and out if that understanding of our brokenness should we minister to God’s people.

The beautiful thing is Jesus doesn’t require perfection. We find our perfection in him! Unlike the Pharisees who believed that there was something that we need to do to be accepted, God in Christ accepts us just as we are, broken. I realize I won’t be any more perfect 20 years from now than I am today. This frees me to continue to push forward in ministry. I don’t serve for Christ’ acceptance , I serve from it! What I do hope to happen in 20 years is that my heart would be so deeply rooted in love for God and his people.

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