“I can’t do what you’re doing. I’m just working on myself right now.” I commend my friend’s humility in admitting she has some areas in her life that she needs to work on. Not everyone is humble enough to say that.
She was responding to the change she’s seen in our family’s life and lifestyle these last several months. Moving to a lower income neighborhood, reducing our living space by half, leaving our long time church home, living like a missionary even though we don’t live in a foreign country. Did she come to the conclusion that I have less ‘issues’ that need worked on based on our current ministry? I beg to differ! I have a lot of sin issues that I am still battling.
One of the rather ironic things about ministry is this: as we pour out ourselves for others-we often benefit as much or even more than the person we are ministering to. I’ve seen it over and over again in Biblical counseling situations and in our first months of church planting. As I am bringing Scripture and Biblical help to others; I am reminded of those same truths and, with the Spirit’s help, applying these things to my own life as well. As we serve others, God works on our own hearts.
My friend believes she has things she needs to work on. I get it. I have them too. My question is-are you sure the best way to work on them is to withdraw yourself from ministry? Maybe your growth in sanctification has slowed because of your withdrawal? Perhaps pouring yourself into service to another would propel you through the slump? A chance to see and be encouraged by our faithful God’s work in another person and in yourself may not be the only piece in the puzzle but it could be an overlooked piece.