An RD, A Witness, A Minister, A Servant
1. No ministry position will ever satisfy. Three days ago I was named Resident Director of Carver Hall at Boyce College, the undergraduate program of Southern Seminary. Being an RD is something I have pursued for several years, knowing how much the Lord has shaped who I am by the faithfulness of my own RDs at The Master’s College. Your passions reflect what and who has shaped you. And yet, despite the joy and thanksgiving for being entrusted with this position, it does not satisfy. I have gained what I have striven for, and discovered through experience what I already knew to be true: Nothing other than Christ will satisfy. If I expect to find my joy and happiness in a position where I am able to mediate Christ rather than Christ himself I may taste faint echos of presumed blessing, but those presumed blessings will be the ghost-like wisps of self-delusion. RA, RD, Dean, Pastor. It does not matter. Man. Boyfriend. Husband. Father. Grandfather. It does not matter. If I try to find my identity and joy in anything other than the wonder of salvation, then I will never find what I’m looking for. Or worse I might think I have, only to discover at some sad moment in the future that my life was spent on the triviality that is myself.
2. Hotel employees can easily recreate everything that you do inside your room. Just trust me on that one. I’ve seen multiple incidents in the past three months that would curl your toes, sicken your stomach, and incite your rage. None of these ordinary people thought about the witnesses to what they were doing or about to do. Not just divine witnesses, but human as well. I can give you names, days, and times of porn watchers, adulterers, drug users, and spouse abusers. I’m just the face that checked you into your hotel. But if I knew you were a pastor and you came down to pay for that fifteen minute long movie in cash, let’s just say your secret wouldn’t be safe with me for the sake of the kingdom of God. Maybe we’re most tempted when we travel because there is the illusion of anonymity. I can tell you that just isn’t true.
3. All authentic ministry begins with servanthood.
4. Servanthood is most simply defined as “You’re in it for them.” Not for what you can gain from the exchange, not for status or reputation or a surge of dopamine, but for their benefit. Be it the awkward pursuit for the sake of better brotherhood, the ease of hard-earned camaraderie, or the stunned silence of confrontation, it is all for their sake, not your own. This is what it means to consider others better than yourself. It’s easy to read; it’s hard to live.