Let me continue on from my previous post and reflect on the other areas of my life for this year. Previously, I addressed full time work as succinctly as I could, seeing as it took up the majority of my time in a week. There would still be much more to say about work and all, but I suppose for now it is not the most urgent thing on my mind; ironically, it feels like work should be the most important thing for me now, giving the amount of time I invest into it daily. But in trying to keep a healthy perspective of (my) life, I’ve invested more energy and thought into ministry instead.
It remains true to me as a Christian that living my life for Jesus means putting His priorities above mine. It felt as if God had helped lay down a fairly solid foundation for me in terms of full time work, and so with that part of my life somewhat sorted out, I was compelled this year to consider how I would use my time, energy, money, other resources to serve my Lord and Saviour. It’s been a sure and steady progress in terms of finding a good routine that I could put next to full time work such that I was still effective in gospel ministry. Of course, I knew from the start that I would not be able to put in as much time into ministry nowadays, compared to the “freedom” I had in university – frankly, I committed many more hours to various forms of ministry than I had hours of class. These days, clearly I do not have the flexibility to use my time in such a manner.
At first I started off scavenging as much free time as I could outside of work to see what was available to me. It’s pretty obvious that for most workers, their free time is usually weeknights after work, and the weekends. Half of Sunday would be spent for church, which should be “standard” for most Christians. And there was a Bible Study to attend on a weeknight. From the start of work until now, and still ongoing, I have been using some of my weeknights to minister to different people one to one, generally via online communication. It might not be the most efficient or relational way to talk to people, but they often give rise to many encouraging conversations where hard issues are discussed and tackled, where Biblical truths are debated and relationships are indeed built. My weekends became invaluable, but not simply for the reason that they were for rest from a long week at work; but because weekends were really the only time I had to meet up with people. After weighing up the value of hanging out with different people on the weekends, I had decided to dedicate my weekends to meet up with other Christians in and outside of my church, generally for the purpose of discipleship.
Over the course of this year, nothing has brought me more encouragement and joy than to be sipping coffee or basking in the sun at the park with God’s Word open before us. I had picked up the habit of doing “one-to-ones” in my third year of university and wanted to continue it this year (but outside the setting of university) with a set of people that I could meet up with regularly to encourage them in their growth as Christians. The main complication that arose immediately was the inability to fit everyone I wanted to see regularly into a weekend. Furthermore, there were also issues with working out how to balance my energy levels over the weekend (I still needed to rest from work during the week, and being an introvert means socialising does drain my energy) and how to leave extra wriggle room for emergencies and the like.
Weekends became an ongoing lesson for me to learn how to balance different people for ministry. I even started keeping a log of all the meet ups I have over the week, which passages of the Bible I read with those people and short notes on how that person seemed to have been growing as a Christian. Over the year I can look back and marvel just how gracious God has been with the people He’s allowed me to disciple over the year, and how He’s grown each of us as Christians, and how our relationships have grown too. Of course, that’s not to say that there hasn’t been any times of frustration and struggle; there has been much wisdom to be learnt about the way discipleship is done, which I will start covering in other posts.
Sunday was my “church” day. More than half the day was scheduled with church service, various other meet ups and hanging out with people from church. This time was important in terms of bonding as a community of Christians and also for the purpose of making the most of the weekend, seeing people when you otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to see them over the rest of the week.
This sort of lifestyle has become a steady routine for me over the year. It’s never been “exactly” the same week in and week out, but this is roughly how I have structured my week, and intend to keep structuring as. In terms of balancing these forms of ministries with, say, work, it does mean that I don’t have intentions of staying late on weekdays, nor intentions of working over the weekend. This will mean I have to give up extra opportunities of “impressing” my manager at work and opportunities to boost my “career”. It doesn’t make me any less a team player, and I still work just as efficiently for the hours that I am at work. However, I have approached work with this mentality so that I can continue glorifying God through the work that I do, but more importantly, that I am bringing glory to God through the proclamation of the gospel to the world.
For me, gospel work (any work regarding the proclamation/teaching of Scripture) will always hold a higher priority in my life, but I am still working out a balance between “ministry” and “secular” work. What “ministry” and “secular” work means, and what they can look like, are things I am still experiencing and investigating and so this first year of work has merely been a small stepping stone in figuring out how I can best live my life for my Lord and Saviour.