September 28, 2020
Weekly Reflection – How to Clean a Fish
Do you know how to clean a fish? Fishing has always been an enjoyable past time for me. And “fishing for men” has a lot of similarities. For example, once a fish is caught, one must “clean” the fish before cooking it. There are many ways to do this. Fishermen in different parts of the world tend to use different methods. One can scrape the scales off, fillet the fish, or simply place the fish on a grill and cook it, scales and all, after removing the ‘innards”. The result is the same in each case, i.e., the fish is ready to be cooked and, once cooked, consumed.
This morning I am thinking of Christian “ministry.” Most of us who are associated with NationsUniversity have been called to ministry. NU might be thought of as the preparation process. But what form of ministry shall we go into? And is our choice the most practical for our situation? Some have earnestly desired a quiet life of prayer and service but find themselves called to a public proclamation of the gospel. Others see themselves as becoming great public “preachers” of the word. But because of family circumstances, they are unable to move in that direction. Yes, in fishing, there are a lot of ways to “clean the fish.” And there are a lot of ways to go into “ministry.”
I recall visiting a career counselor sometime during my university training. I was majoring in chemical engineering but felt a call to “ministry.” I was two thirds through the engineering program and eventually decided to complete my degree. That led to a career in the international petroleum industry followed by, yes, ministry. In fact, as I worked around the world, I found myself “ministering” in ways that would never have been possible had I simply become a “preacher.” That experience prepared me for my current role (like Moses, 40 years later) as the Chaplain for NationsUniversity. One never knows what God has in store!
Another aspect of selecting a form of ministry has to do with one’s obligations to family and community. I know of individuals whose spouse has a life-long illness that requires constant caregiving. It is not practical for these individuals to, for example, become a traveling evangelist. In fact, his or her greatest ministry will probably become the care given to the spouse and ministry given to the children. On the other hand, he or she may find other ways to minister outside the home, such as on the Internet.
The apostle Paul had similar problems. He wrote that he earnestly desired to travel and revisit the churches he had established. However, he found himself in prison and unable to do that. Yet, he was able to write his epistles from a prison cell. These have now benefited generations of Christians for centuries. And he rejoiced in his suffering because he knew it would serve to grow the kingdom.
So, this week ask yourself what form of ministry you are called to. Consider the practical aspects of that calling. If it is ‘blocked”, is there some way to modify your path so as to serve in perhaps even more meaningful ways?
Blessings and peace,
Read more Weekly Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner