For the next several weeks, we will zero in on some ways to renew the “heart of the shepherd” which we have begun to examine in this weekly post. One of the best ways to do so is to recover the wonder of ministry.
I believe that a regular retreat day can help us to do this. There are many patterns to follow, so I will not speak about that today. Instead, here are some important things to ponder as you dedicate a “sabbath day” to the Lord.
Recover the wonder of your calling. Move your heart back into “vocational” mode, purging from it the notions of “careerism” which can easily accumulate. Reflect on your call to ministry and thank God for the opportunity to live your life in this way.
Recover the wonder of ordinary holiness. There are no “toy” ministries or “small” churches. Every congregation is filled with more needs than any of us can handle apart from the grace of God. Incline your heart to find joy in the “little acts of kindness” which every day affords.
Recover an “omni” God. I cut my Christian and pastoral teeth on J.B. Phillips’ book Your God is Too Small. More recently David McCullough has warned us against the danger of making God a “manageable deity.” A retreat day is an excellent opportunity to ponder the majesty of God.
The heart of the shepherd thrives on the recovery of wonder. We need times to be “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”