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Heart & Soul

Don't take it personally." He was near retirement, a seasoned and distinguished veteran who was about to back off a bit from the sweat and muck of active ministry. He had also been my first boss, a dear friend, and mentor. I had asked him a question: What wisdom do you have to give to those of us who are still in the thick of it? Specifically, how can we persevere to the end, fight the good fight, and finish the race?

"Don't take it personally," was his answer. "We're in a war. When a soldier gets shot at, he doesn't get his feelings hurt. He isn't plagued by self-doubt. He doesn't wonder if this is the kind of work he is cut out for. He doesn't peer over the edge of his foxhole and shout back, 'Was it something I said?' Getting shot at just goes with the territory. Don't take it personally."

St. Paul would agree. He says the work of the ministry is a spiritual struggle, but no less lethal for being spiritual. It requires that we put on a kind of armor and therefore assume a certain realism ...

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From Issue:Fall 1994: Intimacy With God
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