Note carefully: Keller is not retiring. Excited to see how God uses him in this new ministry endeavor.
The Bible offers quite a different perspective. Scripture teaches us how to serve God through our work, not just after work. The Bible speaks clear and radical words to people in the workplace, showing us that even the most menial of jobs have an essential role in the mission of God.
I don’t think ministry shaming happens with blatant intention, yet I think it is more common than we realize. We may let our passion for our particular ministry color our speech about it in a way that paints a picture of superiority and makes others feel shame for their ministry. We may have certain ideas about what kind of ministry is the best use of our time, so we unknowingly assume that it is the best for others. God may have created us to be an eye, and we may be so passionate about the work of eyes that we make hands and ears feel less important (1 Corinthians 12:14-26).
I use the word “argue” in its classic sense: the ability to make or counter an argument that depends on logic and reason. To meet one argument with another. To argue with someone, civilly and respectfully, toward the discovery of truth.
It’s good first to understand the types of speech and sharing of information Christians are to put off. Ephesians 4:31–32 is the classic passage on the subject, which instructs us to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. The interesting thing about all of these words is the underlying negative emotion. They infer dislike, maybe even hate. It reminds me I’m most tempted to engage in God-offending language about individuals I’m already predisposed not to like. These negative types of speech and attitudes are contrasted with the warm responses of the next verse: kindness and tenderheartedness. The call here is to good faith. And yet the passage ends with a call to forgiveness, so this good faith isn’t necessarily directed toward someone who naturally engenders it. After all, “If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that” (Luke 6:33).
Modern missions endeavors face many thorny challenges: contextualization, indigeneity, and autonomy, among other cultural issues. Yet in our globalized world, with so many doing great work on cultural issues, there seems to be an ascendant problem: a lack of understanding of the church’s nature and its role in missions.
The greatest challenge to modern missions is a lack of understanding of the church’s nature and its role in missions.
A favorite from the archives:
One Easter weekend, about seven years ago now, I was making a sandwich, and I had to put the knife I was using down because my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I’d been running off my feet for months—years, actually. My body said “when.” But there was something else, too. It wasn’t just my body that was making me stop. It was a realization that I was living in a way that didn’t reflect my theoretical theology.