How is it with your soul? That is an important question. For the past several decades of ministry this has always been the first question I’ve asked in any staff or personnel review. It is such an important question. Because as our soul goes so goes our lives.
It can be very easy to make the mistake that ‘church work’ is the same as ‘soul work’. It is not. The Church can be the place (and hopefully is) through which soul health is practiced. But it has been my experience that ‘church work’ can sometimes be draining rather than life-giving. I mean, who stands with great anticipation in line for a Finance Committee meeting? These are critical meetings but they can often be stressful and energy draining.
So ‘how is it with your soul’? Ministry, I’ve learned requires certain ‘intentional’ practices if ministry is to continue to be fresh and fulfilling. One of those practices is ‘soul massage’. Not to ‘massage the soul’ is to become flabby and unhealthy of soul. When this occurs one’s attitude, motivation and demeanor all shift into a negative and hopeless posture. What does ‘soul massage’ look like? It looks like worship regularly; prayer constantly; scripture consistently; doing no harm, doing good and staying in love with God.
Proverbs 16:16-19 is a great chapter to read while asking ourselves the question “How is it with our soul?”Galatians 5 is another great chapter for searching honestly the matters of the soul. There are many in the Gospels written in red… the words of Jesus…for example Luke 6:27-38 is full of fodder for the soul evaluation.
Why all this ‘soul talk’? With all that is circling around our world, our denomination and our lives…it is crucial that we give our soul their desired massage. Without healthy souls we’re liable to be a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution. How is it with your soul…not somebody else’s soul…your soul? After all it was Jesus who said “…what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart (soul), this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:18, 19)
Casting stones, making judgments and jumping to conclusions have always been my signal that my soul needed a massage. How is it with your soul?