I don’t know if you are someone who has ‘that’ end of year conversation. You guessed it – it’s the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ chat! A conversation which bizarrely turns to laughter if it’s been an amazingly awful year or joy if it’s been good! Dave Clancey helpfully recommended a book which helps us look at 2010 rightly to see the real ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ – ‘Liberating ministry from the success syndrome’ by Kent and Barbara Hughes.
The opening chapter had me hooked. A ministry wife, seeing her husband almost walk away from ministry, listened as her friend glowed with her relief of leaving ministry. It’s a chapter which asks “why should we keep going?”
Well fortunately the book goes on! It highlights our wrong thinking. Ask yourself the question – what are the ‘lows’ in ministry of 2010? Write them down. Then ask yourselves – what are the ‘lows’ the Bible talks about? See any differences!! Well my two lists are embarrassingly different. The book challenges us to get away from our people pleasing, numbers driven mentality to one where faithfulness is our marker. With this marker our lows become our lack of prayer, trust and hope in God.
Another book I would recommend any woman involved in ministry to get on her Christmas list is ‘High Call, High Privilege’ by Gail MacDonald. She polled women in ministry their top 5 challenges which were loneliness, balance, expectations, criticism and finances. Often our list would be the same. There was no mention of the challenge of our sin. See the wrong thinking?
This has all been a great encouragement to me to get my ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ right. The ‘highs’ of seeing godliness in others and the truth of the gospel should fuel me to praise. Why not write down a list of how you have seen the truth of the gospel this year? And keep praising God for them. The ‘lows’ should lead me to repentance for living before men and judging by reactions or results.
How wonderful that when the gospel is the glasses we look through, there’s hope for service. Hope as we look to Jesus who came to serve and not be served. As we see the truth of life eternal and forgiveness of sins. I hope this year is one where the end of year conversation is done through those gospel glasses.