So I’ve been “up” the past week or so. I like feeling good about myself in general. As I mentioned, I try to find good experiences with people during these times so that I have something to go on when a depressive episode hits. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone outside the family to hang with really. Nor am I worth much to anyone ministerially.
This depressing fact was emphasized in church yesterday. The sermon landed on the Biblical metaphor of Jesus being the water of life and those that are thirsty finding satisfaction in him. The pastor listed examples of things we thirst for. Included in these are two things that I really thirst for: relationship and significance. The answer is that I can find those things satisfied in Christ.
Now, it’s not that I don’t know that. Of course I do. The question I have is how that works. What does he mean that I should just trust Christ for those things? Does he mean that I should just go hide somewhere and not engage other people so as to fellowship with them or minister to them? I don’t think he meant that, but I do think he meant to answer the idea that people like me don’t seem satisfied with being worthless or friendless in that we shouldn’t be restless or unsatisfied about it.
Is there anything that we should be unsatisfied about? Yes. Sin. Ok, we shouldn’t be so unsatisfied that we neglect the grace of God. But if we have the Holy Spirit we will be convicted about our sin. That means that we will not be satisfied with committing sin and want to change. Will we still sin or learn of things that are sins that we have been committing that should want to change? Yes. It’s called sanctification. We should desire ever-increasing piety, never satisfied to simply stagnate in our walk with Christ.
But Paul taught about the Body of Christ where we minster in and among each other in the name of Christ. When I was in Bible College, we learned about networking for the sake of having more fruitful ministries. I knew then that such would not be my strong point. Nevertheless, I strove to network. I still suck at it. Consequently, I’m still relatively worthless in any kind of ministry.
It seems we should not be satisfied with the state of affairs in our ministries. Good Christian leaders have a vision to accomplish something that is not accomplished yet. They aren’t satisfied. So they push to be satisfied in accomplishing their vision, and all in the name of Christ.
When I receive some general counsel that I should be satisfied only with Christ and not unsatisfied with being friendless and worthless, I don’t see how that marries with any doctrine regarding the Body of Christ. Surely my pastor isn’t saying that I should quit coming to church and quit trying to minister to someone. Perhaps he just wants me to sit down and shut up; to just show up on Sundays and Wednesdays, be quiet and pay my tithes. Surely not. I think he knows that that would be a nominal Christian. So once again my question:
How does one reconcile only being satisfied in Christ with participating meaningfully in the Body of Christ?