Had a great morning with students yesterday doing cleaning and trimming work at a nearby park, then playing Octaball (which is an amazing game we play, sort of like dodgeball but in a giant Octagon), then eating lunch at In-n-Out. Now I am sitting in my office reflecting on our meeting this morning. I have the best students and co-workers in the world. The Lord has given me a great love and affection for them. There is nothing I would rather be doing and nowhere else I would rather be than here where God has called us. We continue to love Sierra Madre – Esther made the comment yesterday that it feels like Northern California in some ways – the mountains, the trees, the frequently overcast days. Its such a peaceful, beautiful little place in the world.
Something I’m learning this week is how I need the gospel for emotional buoyancy during ministry. My mood can sometimes be more determined because of how meetings and programs are going than because of Christ and his unending, always satisfying love. When ministry goes well, I feel great. When it goes poorly or even just okay, I feel unsettled and sometimes discouraged. But one day this week it just hit me that this is totally justification by works – looking to my performance to feel okay about life and about myself. To the extent that the gospel becomes the central boast in my life, I have an emotional center that does not bob about with circumstances. I am liberated from constantly measuring how I am performing to simply work hard and then rest in the promises and provision of God, as I do for my salvation.
I am grateful that my ministry is ultimately not up to how I perform, but to Jesus’ power, call, wisdom, and love. Only when I realize that my labors aren’t the answer can I labor as I ought. Only when Jesus is more important to me than ministry can I do ministry as I ought – with the freedom and abandonment of the One who is my example as well as my Savior.