Is There No Rest for God’s Weary Ministers? | Mark 6


Lucien Simon-Christ Performing MiraclesReading through the sixth chapter of Mark, I recently noticed a way that Jesus relates to his disciples which is, at first, incredibly encouraging, but then gets exceedingly hard.

This is right after he had sent his disciples out, two by two, to try out this whole “ministry thing” by themselves. According to Mark, it was an incredibly powerful and effective time of ministry for them. They saw powerful things done, and they were able to play a part in them. They return from their first “ministry internship”, and this is where we pick up the story.

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Mark 6.30-31

Jesus’ pastoral concern extends not only to his flock but also to the shepherds. They have done so much ministry and now he insists that they withdraw and rest and eat. Also, they shouldn’t simply do this by themselves as individuals, but with those who are also doing ministry. The leaders of the church should rest together as fellow weary workers.
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I’m terrified of becoming a Pastor


paul-art-wingThis seminary semester, I’m taking classes on both Preaching and the Emotional/Spiritual/Psychological Identity of Pastors. So yeah, get used to seeing more posts like this on the blog. This week, in my “Pastor class” we did readings and had a lecture on “vocational hazards” and discerning one’s “call” to ministry. We were asked about what challenges and encourages us most about this possibility of being “called” to serve the Church in pastoring. Here were my thoughts. 

The biggest fear going into this course–and reinforced in the lecture–is the whole question of whether it is my “False Self” that is called, rather than my True Self. I have spent much of my life following Spurgeon’s (I think) advice that if you feel called to ministry at all, try to do everything else in your life you possibly could do. If you still end up in ministry, then congratulations, you were called.

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The Economics of the Soul | Nehemiah 13:19-21


When it began to be dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the sabbath. And I set some of my servants over the gates, to prevent any burden from being brought in on the sabbath day. Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem once or twice. But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the sabbath.
Nehemiah 13:19-21

Interesting economic implications. There was a real understanding of human nature that understood the power of economics on the human self. If you let the market or commercialism have any real presence among the people of God,  it destroys them, and invites God’s wrath upon them.  The market destroys souls. We cannot “un-economize”  our selves.  Hence Paul’s disruption of the Ephesians market when people are converted. This is essentially what the Pope wrote about recently. We can use the market to serve human flourishing, or we can serve it at the expense of that flourishing. Nehemiah knows the tendency of the human heart to serve economics rather than have it serve us,  so he keeps the merchants away from God’s people on the Sabbath,  when they should be re-syncing themselves with the Living God.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Pastoring the Sabbath | Nehemiah 13:22


And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.
Nehemiah 13:22

It’s is part of the soul-care of the church leaders to safeguard the Sabbath rest of God’s people.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.