Recently, I was talking with a friend about ministry and seminary and how it all should come together. It seems as though anyone entering seminary has all of these grand thoughts of being used by God for such great things. For some those “grand thoughts” are just being a faithful preacher of the word at one church (big or little) for many years. For others, those thoughts are on the mission field or writing and teaching. Regardless, I do not know anyone who attends seminary without having “grand thoughts” of what God is going to do.
However, when you get to seminary, it seems that these thoughts come crashing to the ground quickly. Full time seminary is no joke as many will testify, but what about ministerial opportunities? How do you balance those, if they come (they are not promised) with your school work and your family life (if you have a family)?
A Simple Statement
My friend said something simple yet profound. He told me, “You work at deepening your ministry and let God broaden it.” At first, I did not see how that applied to my problem. After all, I was only concerned with how to strike the balance in life between seminary and everything else going on. He explained further that we must make a paradigm shift in our thinking. As believers, we should think of our lives as a ministry. Everything that is happening (family, school, church, work, etc.) should be viewed as a ministry.
I cannot say that I have really thought in those terms. Once my mind began to wrap around the concept of ministry, I began to see clearly what he meant. The only way we can ever strike that balance is to focus on the One who has providentially given us everything we have. Our main focus in life (and this is extremely hard) is to work on our relationship with Jesus Christ. In everything we do, we must be saturated with the cross of Jesus Christ.
It goes without saying; I am sure, that prayer and the reading and memorization of Scripture are the most important things we should do each and every day. What I am finding needs to be said—to myself for certain—is that if we want to see our “grand thoughts” come to fruition we must first seek to deepen our relationship with Christ.
The Most Important Aspect of Seminary
If you are in seminary and you do not have a family, then you have an extra advantage in this task. If you are in seminary and you do not have to work, then you, too, have an extra advantage. If both of these apply to you, then you probably do not have an excuse to be deepening your understanding of God.
However, if you have a family or work or even a ministry, then this becomes pretty tough. I would recommend that you fight for every opportunity to get alone with God and deepen your relationship with Him. Your family will thank you and those who you interact with daily be it a job or a ministry will notice a remarkable difference in your person. The bottom line is if God has blessed you with the opportunity to be in seminary, do not waste it. Plumb the depths of God and you will not be the same person from day to day.
May God bless you on your journey through seminary and life.