I love how God has made us so wonderfully different from each other! This week I thought about a friend who is one of our retired pastors. Before he retired, he told me that he and his wife love to clean house. I was shocked! This is definitely not one of my traits. This week, however, I discovered that I love to pull weeds! In the past several years I have paid for a company to spray the weeds. Having been gone in the past for significant amounts of time in the summer, I knew that I had no chance of keeping up with the weeds. Now that our situation has changed, and we have moved into a different house, I decided that I would try to keep up with the weed situation myself. Who would have guessed that I would enjoy it? I have found it to be a peaceful time to be outside, and there are immediate results. I’m doubtful that the doctor will consider this to be exercise, but I have to say that all of the squatting seems to be working some leg muscles that have gone soft. I wonder how many people will consider this to be a weird trait?
I have been thinking a lot lately about the things that I am passionate about doing. Due to our cross-country moves and living situations, over time I have had to change hobbies. It is no longer reasonable for me to have sled-dogs or an aviary. Options, though, remain numerous. I especially like growing things and being creative. I enjoy my art collection, photography, aquariums, story telling, pulling weeds, collecting antiques, reading, and writing. I’m finding myself leaning towards raising African Violets again, and actively raising plants in the backyard. I dream of painting (pictures, not walls), having a pond, and learning how to play the guitar (even though there isn’t a musical bone in me). Some day I might even learn how to sing (yeah, that scares me too!).
It is amazing to me that when I get busy, it tends to be the things that I’m most passionate about in my personal life that I quit doing. For many years practicing, and teaching about, self-care has been an emphasis in my life. It seems to me that one piece of self-care is balancing our time in such a way that it is possible to do the things that we love to do. If I’m going to be totally honest, sometimes I have the time, what I’m lacking is energy. Yet it is these very same passions that fire me up, and give me energy.
I’m privileged to witness vital ministry happening all over the South District. The best ministries involve people who are passionate about their ministries. It doesn’t take long talking to them to know who these people are. How do we find these people? Sometimes it happens by sharing with people about existing ministries. It is exciting to watch someone being mentored into being part of a ministry!
We need to not be afraid, though, to start new ministries when the opportunities arise. Are we asking the people connected to our ministry setting what they are passionate about? When someone new gets involved in our ministry setting it can be a natural time to ask them what they are passionate about in life. Have we, however, asked those who have been a part of our ministry setting for a longer period of time what they are passionate about? Sometimes we assume that we know, but do we? I like to tell people that as long as it is legal, we can make a ministry out of it. Some of these new ministries will change lives, and maybe even change our entire world!
I have also noticed that when people get involved with a ministry where they are capable of doing the work, but not passionate about the work, it drains the life from them. These are the people who don’t last for the long-haul. The people who are passionate about their ministries are the ones who find that these ministries are life-giving. This is what we want for our people. We want both our people, and our ministries, to grow. I look forward to hearing stories about how this is happening in your ministry settings!
Your brother on the journey, Mark