Here’s the email I sent leaders at my church this week related to Paul Tripp’s Dangerous Calling book, Chapter 4:
Did you grow up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons? It seemed that ever so often the plot involved Bugs being very tired and drained in a desert, only to see an oasis of rest in the distance. He would run up and start drinking what he thought was water only to have sand in his mouth. This mirage deceived him. In Dangerous Calling, Paul Tripp unpacks the mirage of ministry for us in Chapter 4: “More Than Knowledge and Skill.” He begins with an illustration of a church that hired a pastor only to learn that he didn’t end up being what they thought he was.
Here’s a great summary paragraph: “I’m convinced that the big crisis for the church of Jesus Christ is not that we are easily dissatisfied but that we are all too easily satisfied. We have a regular and perverse ability to make things work that are not and should not be working. We learn to adjust to things that we should alter. We learn to be okay with things we should be confronting. We learn how to avoid things we should be facing. We would rather be comfortable that to hold people accountable. We swindle ourselves into thinking that things are better than they are, and in so doing we compromise the calling and standards of the God we say we love and serve. Like sick people who are afraid of the doctor, we collect evidence that points to our health, when really, in our heart of hearts, we know we are sick. So we settle for a human second best, when God, in grace, offers u so much more.”
Wowzer, that’s definitely the case often isn’t it? Tripp continues saying that our ministry is never just shaped by our knowledge, experience and skill. It always shaped by the true condition of our hearts. On pp.61-62 there are some great questions that might reveal our hearts. I commend those to you for study. The solution is so simple: we “must be enthralled by, in awe of—can I say it: in love with—[our] Redeemer so that everything [we] think, desire, choose, decide, say, and do is propelled by love for Christ and the security of rest in the love of Christ.” “The heart is the inescapable X factor in ministry.” So, today, what’s being revealed in your heart? This chapter, for me at least, is one in which I need to put away my “inner lawyer” (Tripp’s words again) and ask for a tender spirit before the Lord. What’s being revealed out of your heart today? Find encouragement in the glorious Gospel.