I’m not sure who on a committee, somewhere, decided it was a good idea. How the schedule fell so that the Super Bowl for the NFL fell on the day before Valentine’s Day. It all feels like an oxymoron.
So on the weekend before Valentine’s Day I found myself doing the least romantic thing possible – ordering an insane amount of pizza for the joint junior and senior high Super Bowl party.
In ministry sometimes we make sacrifices and I am mentally adding this to my list of “Things I’ve done in ministry that I absolutely would not be doing in ‘real’ life”. It’s right up there with wrapping a box in Christmas paper in July for a sermon prop and setting up a waterfall made out of a ladder, twinkle lights, and plastic table cloth at midnight, along with a million other things.
While finding humor (and a bit of sarcasm) in these things over the years has served me well, there’s an important lesson in here. Long ago my husband and I took a vow of sorts to honor the people in our church family. We continue to serve and submit to them, as they do to us. They show us love and grace when there are times we do not deserve it, just as we pursue them, even in their wandering and sin.
Ultimately, my romance with my husband is not completely negated because of missing one Valentine’s Day. In fact, we don’t even particularly enjoy the commercialism of that day. We try to show each other in little ways our commitment and love for one another. And in the same way, we try to show that to our church. Ordering the pizza, loving on the students, allowing them the freedom to have their own event and gather together, engaging all the people in our congregation right where they are and where it means the most to them.
We have spent years modeling this sacrificial love to our children, church, and those around us in ministry. But that does not mean that everything is always great in our world. Just like an argument in marriage, sometimes things are rocky in ministry. Someone doesn’t agree with doctrine, sometimes feelings are hurt, our worlds are broken. Sin and the evil one make sure that there are troubles and difficulties.
If that’s where you are in ministry, take heart, dear one. The Lord is with you. Reach out to someone else in ministry who can understand, let them pray with and for you, let them give you advice. There is always someone who is just a little further down this winding road of ministry that might have a helpful insight.
Dear Lord, help us in ministry view our actions as sacrificial love for those who are loved by You. Give us strength to persevere through the hard things and give You praise and honor through the great things. Help us to live with hearts open to those around us. Amen.
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