Shepherd’s Care: “Messy Ministry” (2)

Beyond the usual wear-and-tear of messy ministry, we have to also factor in the inevitable loss of “heroes.”   Even those who have significantly influenced us will eventually let us down somehow or other.  And whether we like it or not, we will let others down along the way as well.

Oswald Chambers says that heroes have to go precisely because the Lordship of Christ sweeps away all tendencies to make secondary things primary.  Heroes must be abandoned on the way to renunciation to Christ.

This is not the elimination of mentors and other influential people; it is simply putting them in their place—understanding that they are means, not ends.  They are “windows” through whom we have been enabled to better see Christ.

The Bible says we are to “remember our leaders” (Hebrews 13:7), not worship them or try to ask them to deliver more than they can.  I don’t care whether it’s an ancient or modern influencer.  All the saints have “clay feet,” and so do we.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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One Response to Shepherd’s Care: “Messy Ministry” (2)

  1. Your words ring true. I have learned from my own life and from having put others on pedestals, that following Christ does not eliminate messiness in our own lives. I have been one of the fallen. I learned about grace and forgiveness through my journey of restoration and healing. Though grateful to have learned that and to be a more grace-giving person, knowing that I let others down because of my messy life situation that came about was (and sometimes still is) difficult. Truthfully, we are all fallen and continue to fall in some way daily. Typically we don’t show that to others though, especially if it’s a big fall. However, it is beneficial to be somewhat transparent along the journey so that people know that falling (and getting up again) is part of the journey. It’s important for all to remember that we all fall short and therefore don’t place our fellow journeyers into “hero” category, lest we be shocked when they no longer leap over tall buildings. Thanks for the thoughts and post.


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