In January, I had the opportunity to climb Camelback Mountain in Arizona. I am not a person who frequently has opportunities to climb mountains, so this was an occasion to try something new. The trail begins with a leisurely walk over smaller rocks and stones. Then you quickly find yourself hiking along narrow paths, sidestepping along steep cliffs, and climbing giant boulders. The hike up the mountain presents some challenges for a novice climber like myself. Therefore, my attention was focused for a majority of time on the landscape immediately in front of and below me. It crossed my mind often that I was missing out on spectacular view of the beautiful surroundings of Phoenix as well as the approaching summit of the mountain. Even though I caught glimpses of the magnificence around me, I was intent on making sure that I did not stumble on the small hurdles in my immediate vicinity.
What is your vision for your ministry? Do you have a clear picture of the direction of your current ministry, or are you disproportionately focused on the stumbling blocks that we encounter on a day-to-day basis? Jesus was always faced with stumbling blocks, yet he demonstrated the importance of keeping focus on the big picture. In Luke 13:33, Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” Jesus was responding to the Pharisees who were describing how Herod was a threat to him. Threats and temptations were consistently a part of Jesus days. Yet, he knew the purpose of his ministry. Jesus was determined to fulfill the promise given long ago. Our ministry requires a focus on daily tasks. However, it also requires that we look at the bigger picture. Our ultimate vision for ministry should focus first on the redemptive work of Christ in our lives, which is more beautiful than any summit panorama can offer. In addition, don’t forget to stop and look on the way up the mountain. There will be plenty of stunning opportunities to keep your ministry moving forward.
This article was originally posted on the LCEF blog Leaders to Leaders on March 4, 2013.
Image: Kevin Creutz