“Stop horsing around”
Have you ever heard that phrase as it relates to the work you do in ministry? Ministry is hard work and when someone doesn’t take ministry seriously, it can be aggravating.
But what if you looked at the phrase a little differently?
You know when I first got into ministry there was a word that was used a lot and it grew to mean a lot to me.
See I was fortunate when I started volunteering in ministry that I was around leaders that sought excellence.
Colossians 3 was often used as a source here. After all we should aim to give our very best work and effort, because it’s for God.
As I came on as staff though and worked hard for excellence I realized something else.
See, ministry is somewhat of a paradox. Because as hard as you work, as excellent as it may be, the Holy Spirit is the only thing that can affect true, eternal life change.
There is “pick up your cross follow me” and “all who are weary, come to me, my burden is easy, my yolk is light”. I wrestled with this so much early on in ministry. Then I found this Proverb that helped me reconcile what seemed to be a paradox.
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
Proverbs 21:31 NLT
I love this comparison. Can’t you picture a battle horse, decked out in armor with the tools of war strapped to it’s side. It’s trained muscles poised and ready to charge into battle.
It doesn’t say “the donkey”, it doesn’t say “the mule”. It’s a battle horse. And in ministry, it is absolutely true that God deserves my best. Ministry and indeed Christianity, isn’t guaranteed to be easy. There is in fact a cross I need to pick up and carry.
But picture the battlefield again. Picture an army of leaderless horses charging against the enemy? Chaos. Horses jumping and galloping over each other. Tremendous effort but undirected and unsuccessful.
If you’re in ministry, striving for excellence and no one comes to your event? Or no one accepts Christ? Or… fill in the blank. Your gauge that you’re using for success doesn’t reach the right level. It can be crushing.
But the truth is, you’re a horse trying to win a battle. Horses don’t win battles. Generals do.
I may need to pick up my cross, but Christ is the one who went to it for me. Ministry is hard work and it should be. But your ministry doesn’t rise and fall on your shoulders. Your ministry isn’t even really your ministry. The victory belongs to the Lord.
For me accepting the two was incredibly liberating. So don’t stop horsing around in ministry because ministry needs more horses. There’s plenty of mules who are simply not prepared and there’s plenty of horses hoping to be promoted to generals. The difference I believe is neither one of those get to be present for the victory.