Archive for the ‘Stephen Seamands’ Tag

Sacrificial Self-Giving . . .

. . . is at the heart of Christ’s ministry and consequently all Christian ministry … which … is a participation in his ongoing ministry.

So writes Stephen Seamands in his book Ministry in the Image of God – The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service. Continuing, Seamands says:

Certainly, this is a neglected emphasis in current teaching and preparation for ministry, especially in North America. Can you imagine an advertisement in a Christian magazine urging those considering preparation for ministry to choose a particular college or seminary because ‘we will prepare you to die’? In an age dedicated to self-fulfillment and enamored with success, who wants to hear about sacrifice and self-giving?

Contrast this to the preparation for ministry currently taking place in the underground seminaries of the Chinese house churches. ‘To escape from the police,’ a house-church leader told an American pastor, ‘we teach our students how to jump out of a two-story window so they won’t break their legs when they hit the ground.’ In their seminaries, it is assumed that being in ministry will involve suffering and persecution, perhaps imprisonment or even death.

Continuing again:

Though sacrifice and self-giving in ministry may have been emphasized more in past eras than they are now, because of the nature of human sinfulness they are notions resisted in every age. We often define sin in terms of outward actions contrary to God’s law… However, lawlessness is not the essence of sin. According to scripture, sin lies beneath our actions.

Sin is ultimately rooted in an inward attitude, a deep seated self-centeredness, an evil heart out of which sinful actions flow (cf Mark 7:21-23).

This self-orientation, so deeply entrenched in every one of us, is threatened by sacrificial self-giving and opposes it at all costs. We need, then, to come to terms with our self-centeredness and God’s remedy before the Trinitarian pattern can be realized in our ministry. (Seamands, pp. 82-84)

Or in our relationships, homes, jobs and churches!

Not the most pleasant topic to think on, but it sure might explain why you are REALLY having so much trouble in your marriage, and in your family & extended family, on the job, among your friends, and even in your church, huh? It too often explains my troubles!

Holy Spirit, help us embrace Who You are as revealed in Jesus, that we might know who we are in Him and experience His exact Sacrificial Self-giving with all people and things!

~ Timothy Brassell

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