Ministry is being willing to lay down one’s life to truly care about others. John Frye reminds us that this kind of shepherding (not just for pastors) requires authentic caring.
I think Jesus as the good shepherd, the ideal pastor, would want us to ask first and honestly answer this question: “How do I feel about these people?” Authentic compassion and courageous and tender action precede communication. Shepherds in the New Testament aren’t known for long speeches, but for long journeys and laying down of lives.
Lorna at See-Through Faith reminds us that the kingdom is about our everyday life.
First she quotes from the Henri Nouwen site:
When we think about Jesus we mostly think about his words and miracles, his passion, death, and resurrection, but we should never forget that before all of that Jesus lived a simple, hidden life in a small town, far away from all the great people, great cities, and great events. Jesus’ hidden life is very important for our own spiritual journeys.
If we want to follow Jesus by words and deeds in the service of his Kingdom, we must first of all strive to follow Jesus in his simple, unspectacular, and very ordinary hidden life.
Then Lorna adds:
The simple, unspectacular and very ordinary life is where we are more or less 24/7. If we can but find Jesus in that, then we are well on our way in our spiritual journey. From there words and deeds for His kingdom overflow naturally.
And a great reminder from Benjamin Sternke that being made nothing is the path to living in the Kingdom.
We have tried to “rule and reign” in the world’s way, and unwittingly left the way of Christ. Will the church continue to try it the world’s way, or will she follow her Master, humbling herself, associating with the poor and disenfranchised, the criminals and commoners, loving the unlovable, standing with the accused and condemned? That’s what ruling and reigning seems to mean in the kingdom.
He quotes Pete Greig from “The Vision and The Vow”:
Your attitude should be the same as the Church, who
being in very nature Christ’s beloved
did not consider her call to rule and reign
as a thing to be grasped
but became a simple nobody
indistinguishable from the poor
And being found in appearance as a loser
she continued to choose downward mobility
to the ultimate dead-end
of anonymity, failure, and even martyrdom.