Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Baptismal Vitality for the Long Haul!

Reading time: two minutes. “As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?  In his old age, however, his feet became diseased” (1 Kings 15:23).  He had a nice long career, but maybe he should have taken care of his feet. One of the objectives of our preventive wellness ministry is longevity in ministry.  Often we look at the Wellness Wheel as a diagnostic tool for the immediate crises of life:  “How am I doing when it comes to baptismal, spiritual, relational, intellectual, emotional, vocational, physical and financial health?  What needs to change right now?” For the next eight weeks however, as we move closer to the busy fall season, I want to take a longer view.  What daily and weekly habits and disciplines will help to ensure decades of longevity in ministry?  How can I finish this long, arduous journey and still have strong feet? When Paul describes baptismal renewal to the Ephesians, he uses the phrase “put on the new self” (4:24).  Spiritual refreshment, the pure gift of God’s forgiving grace, is a daily practice with long term benefits.  It’s starting new each day. Life in ministry would be a complete joy if not for one critical handicap: me.  God’s Word is perfect and never fails, and the Holy Spirit is faithful, true and always at work.  I’m the one that stumbles around giving less than perfect service.  My attitude gets out of whack, my words are laced with too much me and not enough Jesus and my deeds are never enough.  That can wear me down. “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?” the Apostle cries out in Romans 7.  “Thanks be to God who delivers me through Christ Jesus our Lord!” Daily remembrance of my identity in Christ is starting new, putting on the new self, beginning a new day with a new attitude, a new enthusiasm, a new joy, because there is grace.  Regardless of how yesterday went, in Christ, I am his chosen servant, filled and sent for today’s tasks. A life in ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.  Finishing decades of service well means starting well every day in the forgiveness, joy and peace of baptismal grace. It’s good for the feet of marathon runners. Thanks for reading.  Subscribe to Blog Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry?  Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.