God's Word for today

Monday, 31 March 2008

Serving two masters...

"You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

- Matthew 6: 24, Contemporary English Version

I'm probably taking the above Scripture a little out of context, but at the moment I feel that it applies particularly to me - hence my reason for not updating the blog for some time.

Someone sent me the attached picture as a suggestion for squeezing more hours out of my day, but I'm not QUITE sure that this is the answer! I also have this annoying need to sleep, and unlike some of my fellow bloggers, I become absolutely comatose if I break my cardinal rule of "never going to bed on the same day you intend waking up", which basically means that I am worse than a drunk if I have had less than 6 1/2 hours of sleep.

As readers of this blog already know, I am well into the process of candidating for the Methodist ministry. But I also have an accounting and tax consultancy which I am in the process of winding down in preparation for going full-time into ministry next year. On top of that, I am working part-time as a pastoral assistant at the st Andrews Methodist Church in Eldorado Park, and in between all of that I am also in my second year of BTh at TEE College.

The past couple of weeks has been absolutely crazy! On the candidature side, I have submitted my "Essaqy on Methodism", and also made arrangements for my "out of Circuit" trial service, which takes place in the Zola (Soweto) Circuit on 6 April 2008.

Circuit work has also kept me quite busy, especially during Holy Week where I attended seven services and preached at three of them. (When time permits, I will write about my experiences during this special week in the lofe of our Church). On Easter Monday a few of us had the privilege of visiting the coronationville Women and Children's Hospital, where we distributed Easter eggs to children of all ages (including some rather "big" kids in nurses' uniforms!). Yesterday seemed to be THE weekend for ministers' weekends off, as I had three services to conduct at two different venues - a foretaste of what full-time ministers experience, perhaps?

Now this would be all good and dandy if the South African Revenue Service didn't interfere with my ministry work by imposing their silly deadline to have tax returns submitted. The result of this was clients clamouring for my attention as we scrambled to meet the cut-off. Not to mention the usual VAT return submissions, plus I had to do two sets of interim accounts for another client.

In between all of this, there was a function at my son's school, and being on the parent / staff committee, I needed to attend. Ditto for the school's "Welcoming Braai", where the other committee members derive much amusement value from having me run the pub. Perhaps the combination of being a candidate Methodist minister and an accountant means that the stock is in good hands? (Being an Anglican school, they do not have the same misgivings concerning alcohol consumption that we Methodists do, provided that those who indulge do so responsibly. I do not consume alcoholic beverages myself, but this is as a result of personal choice rather than any restrictions imposed on me by my church). Since I am likely to be spending a couple of years away from home during the first part of probation, it is important that I remain in touch with what's happening in my son's life as much as possible.

So you can appreciate that when I was unable to collect some of a probationer's missing material from TEE College on a particular day (which I was doing as a favour), and her response to me when I requested that she go to the College personally if she wanted it on that particular day was "Not today - it's my day off", I had a slight sense of humour failure - particularly since I have managed to spend exactly three days in total during the whole of 2008 thus far where I haven't been involved in ministry, accounting, or other duties.

At least by the end of this year I will have wound down the accounting practice, ready to devote my full energies to ministry as I enter Phase One of probation. Until then, I am in the unsatisfying position of "serving two masters", and getting through 2008 is going to be a question of survival.

Thank God that He is the one from Whom I can draw strength...

1 comment:

Dave said...

Hi Steven

I am in the same position as you. Work, Studies, Preaching. Please forward me your e-mail addrsss so that we can communicate directly with each other and exchange words of encouragement to each other.

Regards and Blessings

Dave