This last week the good folks over at Gospel Centered Discipleship ran an article of mine on praying the imprecatory prayers. One of the statements I made in that article was that Psalm 137 was part of the Psalms of Ascents and that Jesus might have sang that particular song while traveling "up" to Jerusalem to celebrate a festival.
People are not a commodity to be acquired, a market to be shared, a business to be grown, a system to be organized, a product to be manufactured, an industry to be monetized, a goal to be achieved, or a platform on which to stand.
People are fallen bearers of the image of God that by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are being reborn, remade, and renewed into the image of Christ.
Your goal is to disciple them towards Jesus. Not your church, not your program, not your agenda, not your book, not your ministry, not you. Let them know and experience, through your ministry, the reality of Jesus who said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). This is the work of the pastorate.
Four weeks from today I will be setting foot on the other side of the globe once again, this time in Japan. To say that I am a bit excited about this trip is a little bit of an understatement. Ever since my friend Steve Sakanashi started telling me about his heart for Japan and the need there for the gospel I was burdened.