|Someone once asked me, “How do you know God has called you to your ministry?” I flashed my answer with a smile: “Because I love my work.” And even though today’s verse was written to pastors, the principle is for any servant doing God’s work: we are commanded to enjoy our work.
Dr. John Piper, a pastor and theologian, has observed that the apostle Peter condemns two motives in ministry. One is doing your work under constraint; fear of failure or people’s expectations are not good motives for working in the ministry. The other motive Peter faults is the desire for money; the eagerness of ministry should come not from the external rewards but from the internal reward of seeing God’s grace flow through you to touch the lives of others.
God’s command is for you and me to pursue delight in the ministry. Joy in what we do as Christians is not an unexpected result or a by-product; it is your duty: “Tend…willingly…and eagerly.”
Phillips Brooks, a pastor in Boston a hundred years ago, said, “No one to whom the details of his task are repulsive can do his task well constantly, however full he may be of its spirit…Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, count it an essential element of your power, if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do…in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, in standing before men and moving them…the more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all.”
People don’t have to be speakers like me, or writers or theologians like Dr. Piper and Reverend Brooks, to be in Christian service. The work of us all—crane operators, teachers, and homemakers—involves two basic things: glorifying the Lord and saving souls. No other joy on earth compares with that. The Christian ministry that does not feel this joy is near death and in need of the reviving breath of God.
Inspire me today to do my work willingly and eagerly, Lord, with an eye to your glory. This, for me, would be my joy.