Monday, February 28, 2011

The work of Another

Pastoral ministry is not for the easily discouraged. I have been reflecting almost all day today about the investment-to-return ratio in ministry. It is not very great. In that way it bears a resemblance to blogging. Both require a lot of effort, at least if one tries to do them well, but do not immediately or even obviously bear a lot of fruit. Therefore, I am heartened that it is not about efficiency, which is not to say that I don't try to learn from my experiences and find ways of doing things better, I do.

The Martyrdom of St. Stephen, by Pieter Paul Rubens

Look at Jesus' own ministry, it was not efficient, at least not until after His resurrection and Ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, when it multiplied exponentially. This is why, as we were exhorted in yesterday's Gospel, to put everything we do at the service of bringing about God's reign. It is a matter of trust; the work of Another. It is not my work. I have merely been called to help as a laborer in the Lord's vineyard. I am certainly under no illusion that I am the best, or even the most diligent worker in the vineyard, let alone the most gifted. I am grateful beyond measure to be called to the work I have been given and I pray that I am a good steward of those gifts I have received, as meager as they might be.

Judged by any worldy criteria, we might well determine pastoral ministry isn't worth the effort.


  1. Oh dear Scott- you are doing just fine :-))
    I for one appreciate what you do here.

  2. Thanks, Philomena. In some things, namely ministry and blogging, I have learned not judge success by worldy criteria.


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