by Rev Jason Phua
Readings: Acts 20:1-38; Psalms 40:1-10
READ (Verse chosen for meditation)
Acts 20:28 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
As Paul spoke his final words to the elders in Ephesus, he warned them to watch out for their own relationship with God as they cared for the church which God had obtained through His blood. Just imagine, at this last leg of ministry, when Paul knew that he will not get to see his beloved co-workers again; his final words must be particularly important. His final words to a group of leaders he held so dear in his heart was a stern warning; the warning to have them watch out for their own sanctification even as they seek to disciple others. After many years of ministry, Paul knew that the dangers of ministry are many and real. If the church leaders were not able to pay attention to their own walk with God, their care for the church will be deeply compromised. Such a compromise will only serve as an insult to God who bought the church with the price of His blood.
Coming to seven years of ministering full time in the context of the church; i couldn’t agree more with the apostle Paul. Even as i come into this ministry “with eyes opened”; nothing could have fully prepared me for the “dangers” of full time church vocation. Take for example, the danger of getting too secure and comfortable with what “i can do” is real and insidious to the soul. The danger of thinking that “ministry work” can substitute personal conversations and prayer with God is also deeply deceptive. I came to believe that how the devil works frequently in the minister’s heart is by having him or her to believe that he is “sufficient”.
Only seven years, I have already witnessed quite a few ministers who are burning out or totally burnt out. Yet his or her leaders are often too afraid to bring this up or they are blinded to the fact the minister needs to pay constant attention to his or her devotional life. I am reminded today, that such a stern warning from the apostle cannot be ignored. I guess such paying attention to our own walk with God applies to every believer who is serving or trying to minister to others. Let it not be that while we serve / work fervently in the public spaces; we also sinned heavily in the private domains of our hearts. The Lord shall not be mocked for His church is built upon the power of His blood.
Lord my God, the church is bought with your blood. Help us to be constantly mindful and take action for the sake of our own sanctification; this is so we serve and minister in Your grace, truth and love. Amen.