By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.Ephesians 3:7, NLT
In a little over one month, I will be participating in my first Tough Mudder, which is rather strange because running and obstacles and general athleticism is not my forte. Playing a game of QWOP seems more comfortable than hitting the track, but it’s interesting how others gravitate toward it. Take Stefan Engels, for example—the man known as the “Marathon Man.” He set the world record in 2011 by running the marathon distance 365 consecutive times in a single year. My legs are tired from having just written that sentence.
Even when I do run, it has never really been because I wanted to be running; it has felt like something I had to do. I have to run to be in shape. I have to run to stop my kids from doing something dangerous. I have to run before someone snags the last doughnut. It’s not the case for everyone, but running is more of an obligation than an enjoyment for me. There is a monumental difference, however, between feeling like we have to do something and feeling like we get to do something.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul talks about the privilege of serving, or ministering for, God. The Greek word he uses here is diakonos. It is very possible that this word has its origins in another Greek word, diakonis, which means to run with the dust. In Roman culture, servants would often be sent by their masters to run errands through the dusty roads. At other times, a servant may trail behind in the swelling dust clouds of their master’s horse, left to run with the dust. Paul viewed the ministry as him “running with the dust.”
But, notice the word Paul attributes to his running—to his serving. He refers to it as a privilege. It was a gift of God’s grace and power that Paul would be able to run with the dust of his Master. Friends, may we view ministry through the same lens. As we serve within our churches and within our workplaces and within our families, may it not simply be something we have to do because we signed up for it. Instead, may we exclaim, “We get to do this!” Don’t ever forget the privilege of ministry. Yes, it is exhausting. It can be dirty, but remember the gift of God’s grace that enables you to be a minister of His Gospel. It may not always feel like it, but it is indeed a beautiful gift!
Wherever you find yourself today, may you be found serving. Not out of obligation but out of delight. You are not just fulfilling a job or meeting a ministry need. You are not just a warm body. This is not just your daily or weekly routine. It is a privilege to be used by God for the purposes of God. We get to do this.