Currently I am in the back seat of a vehicle coming back from St. Louis after watching a great cardinals win with some fairly new friends of mine. The two gents in the front are members of our Journey group (I've know them for 3 weeks) and my friend in the back is one of their friends whom I just met today. As I was sitting here pondering the day I am convicted of what I (we) will do to fulfill our desires and yet we tend to look at ministry as something else we HAVE to do.
We left at 630 this morning and will probably get home around 10 tonight. Add in the cost of the ticket, food, gas, and parking this trip required a lot of my resources. As a society we are so focused on what we want. And mainly to do with time. We consider every second of the day to be ours.
Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 16:24 in order to follow Him we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (this is my paraphrase). In order to begin to follow Jesus with our lives (which is the only way to find true joy), we first must deny ourselves. This means realizing that the time we have on this earth is not ours, but belongs to our creator. Once we realize this the process of denying ourselves begins.
When Jesus says take up our cross I think it means we must be ready to sacrifice for His kingdom. Whatever that means, whether it's time or money or comforts we HAVE to be prepared to sacrifice these things for Jesus. That is the only thing we have to do.
How many things do we devote our time, money, and energy to which has absolutely no positive affect on the Kingdom of God. However, when it comes time for ministry (which should be all the time) we tend to put it in the something else to do category.
Now, I am not saying that we should never do anything the world considers fun and fulfilling. I am simply saying we should always remember that the time we have is the Lords. Whatever we do we are called to do it heartily for the Lord. Even watching the cardinals with some friends from church. Ministry is based on relationships and God smiles when we build those relationships in His name.