People were made to live for God and for each other. Adam’s first commission was, as far as we know impossible for him to accomplish alone: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” He couldn’t be fruitful without a wife! And so from the beginning we see that the first command ever given to mankind involved two people working together.
And when we see the explanation for God creating a woman, we see it again: “there was not found a helper fit for him.” Eve’s purpose was to be a helper. In the unfallen world, Adam and Eve lived to serve each other. Adam and Eve were to obey the Lord by working together to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” It was a joint effort. This is how we were made: to live for the glory of God and the good of others.
The first sin turned us against each other. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent. A new dynamic entered into the world with sin. People become more wrapped up in themselves than in the mission God gave them.
Imagine a beautiful bald eagle caged in a small cage, barely big enough to contain the poor creature. This bird was made to soar great heights, to accomplish unthinkable feats, to display the creativity of God in natural beauty. But locked up in such a small cage it’s quite a lame sight. And so are Christians, who have forgotten the magnificent call we’ve been given. We lock ourselves up in the cages of our selfish desires, our petty pursuits, our trivial, small, fleeting pleasures—and yet if we were to open the door we could soar in the clouds.
When God calls to you Christ, he opens the cage and says, fly. We were made for ministry. It’s how God designed us. And how sad it is to see a Christian, stuck in the cage of his own selfishness, worrying about his reputation, his comfort, his status, when a grand, purposeful adventure is offered him. I say, and believe with all my being: heartily give yourself to ministry and you will never find yourself a bored person. Christians should never be bored. Are soldiers in battle board, when bullets fly by, when snipers are about, when they approach the minefield, when friends stand on the brink of death, when eternity weighs in the balance, when hell’s mouth is gaping wide, eager to swallow the next soul? Christians were not redeemed from the fires of damnation to be bored. We’re soldiers, workers, builders, farmers, athletes—use any metaphor you want—the point is we’re active, on the move, full of force, wind, light.
And how boring is the misery of the sloth! Boredom is an incipient form of wickedness, right next to laziness. Resolve not to live a boring life, and do that which you made to do: serve others.
That’s why Paul calls his ministry a “mercy” and a “grace.” Because in becoming other-centric he is able to soar in the joy of obedience. It was grace that made him a minister of the gospel. It was grace that commissioned him to preach. It is grace that called him to steward the gospel. And it is God’ grace that he’s called you to do the same. He is calling you to soar. He is calling you to lose yourself in glad sacrifice for the eternal good of others, and in doing so discover inward joys you never knew.