Labyrinth or Liberty?

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People


 “I wanted them to grapple with the question of whether they were in seminary because they loved the labyrinthine superstructure of the theological concepts of Scripture or because they loved Jesus and wanted to be his tool of transformation in the lives of messy people.”

The absurdity of this quote is only absurd because we as readers can look at it from afar.  The sentence and its grandiose descriptive words carry with it a perspective that seems obvious to the reader, and as we yell from the back of the room, “Yea!  How could they think that concepts trump those it was written for!” we must tread carefully because we can embrace the same type of thinking without even realizing it.  This is the proverbial frog in the kettle.

I recall sitting in my truck one cold, wet winter morning watching students pass by at the university where I was serving as a campus minister.  I watched them walk by as I sat in a pool of self-inflicted disdain for the lives that traversed mindlessly before me.  I had grown, not just externally cold in my truck, but my heart’s temperature had dropped significantly throughout that fall.  The very ministry that I had felt so driven to be a part of had become lost in the busyness of doing.  I had felt compelled to share the gospel with the thousands of lost students on our campus and to train those who were involved in our ministry.  But my love for Jesus and obedience to him had lost his compelling nature in my life.  My job was nothing more than a job and not a vision driven by my heart for them.

Similar to those pastors or Christian workers who have turned people into “projects” through their hyper love for theological concepts and communication, I had allowed my own love for the lost to be driven into the ground by a detachment of my love for Christ and my tendency toward living on cruise control.  At that moment, I realized that my approach and motivation for ministry was now driven by tasks, deadlines, and ticking off the boxes of my own agenda.  And it wasn’t working.

As I sat looking through the windshield at this throng and contemplating what to do I realized that the Lord had been prompting me to share my faith.  “Go talk to someone about me” I kept hearing in my heart.  After much deliberating and negotiating (neither of which worked out my way) I finally obeyed and headed for a dorm to find some students.  Without realizing it my attention was being taken off of my issues and complaints and redirected toward the souls of the very men that Christ had died for.  An hour later I was leaving the dorm having had a great conversation with some spiritually thirsty men in the dorm.  I learned that it’s hard to concentrate on my own myopic issues when discussing someone’s eternity.

A second significant realization was how much void there is in my life when I am not compelled by the love of Christ (II Corinthians 5:14).  Yes, we must walk by faith, which sometimes does not include warm feelings, but we must always be driven by our love for Christ, lived out in obedience to our Savior.  Otherwise our hearts grow cynical and our people become our projects.  We don’t want to be enamored by the labyrinth superstructure, but in love with the One who created the labyrinth in the first place.  One leads to deadness and the other toward transformation.   As pastors and Christian workers, let’s choose the latter.


535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles