Whenever I ask someone to help with a project at church, I have to give my able/willing speech. I’ve probably already written about it, too. I tell people you have to be both able and willing to help. If you’re willing, but not able, that’s not fair of me to ask. If you’re able, but not willing, I don’t need the attitude that often comes with you.
I want you to be thoughtful about what you agree to doing for the church. Saying “yes” because you don’t know how to say “no” isn’t. And it might keep others from sharing in ministry. And be sure, pastors get asked to do things, too. A lot. Many of us have a hard time letting people down. Like anyone else, we overextend ourselves, too. Everyone says they understand and respect boundaries. They just don’t act like it when you tell them no.
Now, let’s add some tension to all that.
You should be ready to serve. You should know your limits. And you need to know how to be inconvenienced.
In Matthew 18 Jesus offers the great image of a shepherd going after the one lost sheep out of ninety nine. I’m no shepherd, but I assume that has to come with its difficulties. Aren’t you risking losing more of the the ninety nine? Aren’t you putting yourself in danger looking for the one? Yes, but Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls us to such difficult ministry.
We marvel at Jesus searching for the one. We hear his call to us to follow him. So, doesn’t that mean we will go after the lost one, too? Yes, it does. What that looks like and how it unfolds may be different for each church. But it is an effort we should see in our local congregations.
If, though, our churches don’t get over the inconvenience of doing so, will we actually pursue such a calling? I’ll leave it up to you to reflect on how an inconvenient call to ministry might disrupt or rearrange your church. Once you envision it, you can ask, Would my church be willing to withstand such a holy disturbance?
The gospel saves and redeems us. Praise God! But it will also inconvenience us. Are you ready to be inconvenienced?