Friday, February 20, 2009

Don't Waste Your Time

Now it is very clear what our duty is: thus, if the Lord has committed to us the protection of our life, our duty is to protect it; if he offers helps, to use them; if he forewarns us of dangers, not to plunge headlong; if he makes remedies available, not to neglect them. ~ John Calvin, Section: 1.17.4 of The Institutes of The Christian Religion

I remember early in my youth ministry career going to a conference and being given the charge to watch more MTV. It will be good for me to inundate my mind with the culture so I can identify with kids. I bought into it, I immersed myself in the culture of youth, but a nagging problem began to enter my mind. If I engage with the culture and surround myself with it, how do I go about the process of telling others not to engage with it? Furthermore, if I want to teach them how to disciple and mentor do I tell them at a certain point to jump back into the ills of culture so they can understand and relate to those whom they are ministering?

I reflected on this while reading the daily Institutes reading from the Princeton Seminary. Calvin reflects upon Matthew 10:29-31:

Whence Christ, when he declared that not even a tiny sparrow of little worth falls to earth without the Father's will [Matt. 10:29], immediately applies it in this way: that since we are of greater value than sparrows, we ought to realize that God watches over us with all the closer care [Matt. 10:31]; and he extends it so far that we may trust that the hairs of our head are numbered [Matt. 10:30].

I think we need to seek a little deeper inside of ourselves when it comes to the question of relating to others. The relational connection between others and ourselves is that we are made in the image of God, not that we are ruined by sin. We want to teach others to identify with their identity in Christ, not their identity in sin. This is the reflection that we need to ponder in our ministry towards others is how to call people back towards their natural state of being a reflection of the one true God.

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