Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord is high drama, isn’t it? “I am ruined,” he exclaims in the midst of seeing and hearing an indescribably rich and awesome vision of the Lord himself, his throne, and the angelic beings that surround him (Is. 6:1-8). And indeed Isaiah is ruined. Nothing is ever the same for him again. There’s no going back. He has seen the Lord! He accepts the call to be “in the ministry.”
Aside from someone as well known as Isaiah, why does anyone step up to the challenge of ministry? Where does the desire to serve Jesus come from? It’s my belief that from beginning to end this love that floods our hearts the minute we say “yes” to Jesus is a supernatural phenomenon, so strong that it ignites our worship and spurs us to offer God’s loving-kindness to others. At least that’s how it happened for me.
This past week I devoured a novel by author Randy Singer titled The Advocate. Singer uses Theophilus, the man who was the recipient of Luke’s Gospel, to tell the story of life in Rome in the first century. It is a vivid account of pagan worship, the obsessive cruelty of tyrants, the bloodlust and debauchery of the people of Rome, and the political maneuvering of the Roman Senate. Theophilus’ vocation as a lawyer eventually brings him into contact with both Jesus and the Apostle Paul. Needless to say, these encounters spark his career as an “Advocate” and eventually change his life.
How has your own encounter with Jesus changed your life and your understanding of ministry? If the answer doesn’t spring to mind immediately, might now be a good time to reflect on your relationship with Christ? Has it grown lukewarm, as it did for those in the church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:15)? Is it hidden beneath a protective mask you wear to hide your pain? Or taken a backseat to your family, career or an addiction that has you in its hold? None of us is immune from tests, trials, pain and heartache. We live in a broken world; we ourselves are broken people. But don’t despair, please! Press in to Jesus and let his love enfold you, re-new you, and set you free to love others. Reach out; open up; connect. We’re “ruined” for a reason. This is the new identity Isaiah accepted in the midst of a society of stiff-necked, rebellious people. In the very best of ways, “ruined” is who we are, too.