In a few previous posts I have recounted my discontent with ministry in the last two years. Read them again here, here, and here.
The next step in the process was the reading of a few key verses of Scripture that I felt addressed my dicontent directly. The first was Daniel 7:13-14. When I read and thought about it, I nearly fell out of my chair:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Jesus made no secret about claiming to be the 'son of man'. Far from being his attempt to downplay his own deity, he was identifying himself as the fulfillment of the prophecy pictured here in Daniel. Jesus was saying that all authority, glory, and sovereign power were given to him by God the Father.
Does that strike you at all? The Christian culture has so over-emphasized the 'Sunday School' Jesus, who is gentle and kind and nice, that we have forgotten that he is also the most shockingly powerful being in all of creation and beyond. I have realized that true gentleness cannot exist wihtout power; when it tries, it is merely passivity. True kindness cannot exist without power; it is merely an empty gesture. Jesus can only forgive sins because he has been given the authority to judge.
This Jesus pictured in Daniel defies the very things I was discontented with. There can be no formula with such power; such power will do what it wills. There can be no passivity, for such power requires action and initiative. It will change anything it touches. Such power cannot possibly be irrelevant, for any force that has authority over life and the human heart will be sought by anyone who understands what it is capable of.
It has changed my thinking about ministry tremendously. As a minister (but really, as a Christian, as I will talk about) I am a steward and vehicle for this power. I am a servant of this Jesus, and he has involved me in his work. Now as I survey my life and ministry, I am constantly confronted with the question, "Is there anywhere, or anyone, who is not under the dominion of this authority, glory, and soveriegn power? Is there any place or circumstance where Jesus is not powerful, or where his dominion has passed? Has the Father taken some back, or failed to give all in the first place?" The answer to that question is so important!
More to come...