The Paradox of Ministry

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Saint Augustine said, “Pray as if everything depends on God. Work as if everything depends on you.”

I love that quote. It expresses the paradox of ministry, and of the whole Christian life, really.

Everything we accomplish is due to God’s power, yet he refuses to act directly. He is omnipotent, yet he insists on using flawed human beings to accomplish his will. C.S. Lewis captured this dilemma nicely when he said that God “seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye.”

Just so. We can’t do this work ourselves. We’re called to do it anyway. If we work like God will take care of everything for us, he doesn’t act. If we work like we have to take care of everything ourselves, God works wonders.

I don’t pretend to understand this. I just know that it’s true.

Given how imperfect we are, sometimes it amazes me that we produce any results at all. But that is just the paradox of ministry again, because God doesn’t just produce some results through our work at Emmaus; he produces amazing results. Men no one else cares for hear the message of God’s love for them, and respond. They accept his grace and forgiveness. They take on the hard work of leaving the streets and rebuilding their lives.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to join us in this work. Pray with us as if all we do depends on God, because it does. Work with us as if all we do depends on you, because it does.

1 Comment
  1. I pray for you all every day. I like the “of CS Lewis or was it Augustine. Keep up the good work. God is working toO

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