As of now I have been a seminary grad for a little more than three weeks, and the very thing that I was warned would happen is happening: there is this lingering discontent as I have set the hard rigors of studying aside and stepped into a full-time ministerial role. Now, don’t get me wrong I love my church and I love the role that I am in. I do not miss the hour and a half drive to and from school, nor do I miss the pressure of three or four papers being due at once.
Of course, I am setting some personal study goals for myself… to read books I haven’t had time for, or to reread books I used in seminary to gain more insight and clarity… but let’s be honest it isn’t the same. The “have to” is not there and sometimes that is the most intriguing motivation. The blessing for me is that as the Director of Discipleship continued studies are part of my job to some extent, but even that motivation is different.
It reminds me so much of how the disciples changed in the early church. Peter, for example, went from constantly sticking his foot in his mouth to preaching to thousands in only a few short weeks. The church itself went from a band of pseudo-outcasts plagued with dissension and self-doubt to a strong body of believers who held everything in common and supported each other. What was the difference? Well, obviously Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit was the driving force behind the apostles’ work – but I also think the Spirit used the motivation of necessity to give them a push. Now, I maybe wrong, but the apostles had spent three years with Christ but in his resurrection they realized that if the gospel was to be preached they would have to do it. I cannot imagine what that mental, emotional, and spiritual transition must have been like, but it makes sense that they would need the Holy Spirit in the face of their mission.
As I am seeking to find the balance between personal study and practical ministry, I am asking God for his Holy Spirit to tell me when and where and how much. That is the prayer we all need to pray, because without him all our efforts will be for naught.