Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Inspiration and perspiration

From time to time I get sent reports about Jesus Army evangelism efforts from round the nation. (I edit our magazine – helps to keep my ear to the ground.) Recently I was sent one that was a little different to the norm:

Six people went to evangelise in the city centre. It was cold and clashed with a youth event elsewhere, hence the small team. Generally a pants evening. Bless you.

I loved this report enough to reproduce it here. Not only does the grim “bless you” at the end make me smile, but this is a disarmingly honest report. Because the fact is that for all our characteristically Jesus Army gung-ho positivity, sometimes the work of building the church can be cold, hard slog.

Photo by nazreth of sxu.huTake another, different, example: we’ve just held our annual Easter weekend “Alive Festival”. After it was over someone asked me how I got on. I thought for a moment and then replied, “80% perspiration, 20% inspiration.”

It wasn’t that it wasn’t an excellent time; it was – inspiring talks from some of the Jesus Army’s main leaders; powerful encounters in times of prayer; energetic singing and worship. But I found it hard work, too (as did my good lady wife). Small children to manage; food to be transported, dished out, cleared up; muddy buggy wheels, shoes, toddlers; driving, driving, more driving... There were times when aching limbs and numbed brains congealed into cold questions like “Is it really worth the effort?”

And of course, the answer is yes. It is well worth the effort. But it is also – effort.

At the end of what is possibly the greatest theological work ever penned, Paul wrote these apparently rather mundane words:

Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you... Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ... Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord... Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you... (from Romans 16)

Can you spot the theme?

It’s hard work being and building the church.

But it’s worth every drop of sweat.


Anonymous said...

Blood, sweat and tears... The phrase "laying down our lives for the brethren" becomes very real. Keep up the good work

Soupy said...

That it is, my friend, that it is.