Preached on Monday June 15, 2015
It is a tremendous blessing to be asked to preach today Hunter. I want to say that I am so impressed with who you are. I wish that in some way I could take credit for the work your are going to do in ministry, but you have zealously pursued Christ and have become the man you are completely independent of any influence of mine. I am so excited about what God is going to do in your ministry that I do not feel worthy to preach to you today. But I do have some concerns and they’re not just about the length of your shorts.
As we were getting ready to process into Jason Hamshaw’s ordination service, Jason looked a little nervous. So, I tried to encourage him and I told him “Jason, just read the words in the book and it’s really hard to screw this up.” Then I thought for a moment and added to that., “everything after today, though, is very easy to screw up.” Now in today’s reading, Paul gives us a number of requirements for those entering into ordained ministry and as I’ve reflected on these I’ve added to that thought. “Ministry is really easy to screw up, but it can be hard to get kicked out of.” I mean, you really have to blow it to get kicked out of ministry even if you are totally screwing it up.
Paul’s words here not only tell us the parameters of who can be called into ministry, but they remind us of the deep burden of responsibility that ministry is. In fact, I would have to say that ministry has constituted the deepest trial of my whole life. This may sound weird or wrong, but I can remember as my dad was dying in the hospital thinking to myself “This is hard, but it’s not as hard as being in ministry.” That might sound weird, so to help us understand the difficulty of ministry, I turn to John Chrysostom. (more…)