Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...
Can a ministry be a weight?
That is the question raised in my head during a phone conversation with an old friend. We discussed recent happenings in my life regarding certain ministries and discussed the next step in regards to those ministries.
The idea sprung up in my mind... can something considered good be a weight as we run this race? Based on the structure of that verse, the 'weight' isn't sin... so it must be something else. Something I hold on to that saps my time and energy and makes it difficult for me to run the race effectively.
A ministry could fall in that category.
Now, not every ministry is a weight. Sometimes our race is actually a ministry. However, we can spread ourselves too thin, forget to exercise the freedom to say 'no' and find ourselves weighed down.
Clothes are necessary for the athlete to wear, but he only wears the clothing necessary. You will not see an Olympic sprinter dressed in a snow suit and a parka. It is not practical. On the same side, you will not see an Alaskan sled racer dressed in a speedo. Different races require different skill sets, talents and even ministries. To try and don the outfit of a skiier while I dash the 200 hurdles would result in utter failure of my race. I will find myself exhausted and useless until that extra baggage is shed.
So, while a particular ministry or life choice may be fine for Suzy, it may not be what God desires for Joe. Following God means that Joe needs to decline that ministry. It also means that Suzy should not feel offended when that ministry is declined. Joe is not running her race. He is running his race.
We each have our own races to run. The finish line is universal: the glory of God, but our roads to that point will vary in appearance as much as we do. There should not be pressure to adopt all the ministries of the church. Focus. Set your eyes. Evaluate your course. Don your attire. Lay aside what you do not need and run.