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To Serve is to Suffer

Last August Ajith Fernando wrote To Serve is to Suffer in Christianity Today, an article that recently received an EPA Higher Goals Award. This is a great read for anyone in ministry, missions, or thinking about going into those fields. Fernando addresses vocational ministry and its elements of frustrations and fulfillment, commitment and community, our drivenness and servanthood, and the glory of the gospel.

Here are a few highlights:

  • “If the apostle Paul knew fatigue, anger, and anxiety in his ministry, what makes us think we can avoid them in ours?”
  • “The Cross must be an essential element in our definition of vocational fulfillment.”
  • “A church that has a wrong understanding of [vocational] fulfillment for its workers will certainly become sick.”
  • “This may be one reason why the church contains so much shallowness. We have measured success by the standards of the world and fail to challenge the world with the radically different biblical way to fulfillment.”
  • “When people leave a church because they do not fit the program, it communicates a deadly message: that our commitment is to the work and not to the person, that our unity is primarily in the work and not in Christ and the gospel.”
  • “People who are unfulfilled after pursuing things that do not satisfy may be astonished to see Christians who are joyful after depriving themselves for the sake of the gospel.”

Read the full article or check out Fernando’s book, The Call to Joy and Pain.

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August 2, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 11:24 am | (2) Comments »


  1. β€œThe Cross must be an essential element in our definition of vocational fulfillment.”

    I would like to add that the empty tomb is even more important to note. The cross is crucial, but the glory of Jesus Christ as king over the world through the bodily resurrection is what the Gospel is all about, not simply justification.

    May the Lord conform us to the image of His Son, to serve as humble servants.

    Comment by Maim — August 2, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  2. Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely great.

    Comment by Jones sabo it is my opinion this pair perhaps may — April 20, 2013 @ 5:21 am

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