God’s Employee and God’s Child?

I’m in my 17th year of ministry, entering my 6th as a lead pastor and I’m noticing an alarming trend in my soul.

If left unchecked, I relate more to God as employee than child.

My role is “employee” but my status is “child” and sometimes I can put them in the wrong order of importance.

I’ve known this for a few years now and begun some steps to deal with it, but it came to a head on a recent trip I took with some church friends to visit Dan and Christie Reich in Paraguay.  We worked hard for two weeks, poured ourselves out in ministry, but we also took a day off to visit the Iguazu Falls (featured spectacularly in the movie “The Mission” from the 1980s.)

There are no words to accurately describe the Iguazu Falls.  “Awesome” seems too small a word all of a sudden, but I can say that I worshipped and enjoyed God all day.  I worshipped and enjoyed God for His good gifts of friends (fellow team members and the mighty Reiches) and stunning creation.  At the falls, I wasn’t a leader, a pastor, or a preacher.  In short, I wasn’t “on.”

I was nothing else other than a human being, created in the image of God, enjoying God’s gifts.  I was simply God’s child, enjoying God’s good gifts and It was one of the most soul refreshing days I’ve had.

If I don’t regularly spend time “off” totally disconnected from my role in the kingdom, I will neglect my status in the Kingdom.  I am a pastor, but years before I was ever a pastor, I became God’s adopted child.

Beloved Child, actually.

I am quite good at teaching this.  I am not as good at believing this.

The Apostle Paul lays out a beautiful vision in his New Testament epistles.  He almost always described himself as God’s “bondservant.”  That was his role in the Kingdom.  But he also writes a lot about being God’s child.  Somehow he didn’t find any tension between the two.  I don’t find tension in it either, but I sure can neglect one and put the other ahead.

How about you?

8 Replies to “God’s Employee and God’s Child?”

  1. Thank you for your honesty Steve by addressing a very real tension we pastors all experience – being ‘on’ versus simply being God’s kid. A great book that hit the target with me in this area was John Piper’s ‘Brothers, We Are Not Professionals’. Again, I greatly appreciate your authenticity and willingness to bring this popular yet hidden dynamic into the light.

    Steve in Norcal


  2. I have always felt the tension on this issue, Steve, and it’s a struggle. With the demands of ministry and the increasing to do list, it’s sometimes difficult to keep my priorities straight. To be honest, I have to admit that my “work” gets done, sometimes to the neglect of my own soul. Thanks for the reminder. Good words my friend.


  3. Bondservant…big nose…or just simply…Steve… YOU are His, He is YOURS… and for all it’s worth from TN to CO … the Davis’s miss the Cuss family and are grateful for your love and service to our King! Your picture hangs in our hallway and our memories of your family are etched in our hearts, eternally! Much Love!!! Kathy Davis


    1. great words Kathy and we miss you guys too! Loved seeing Keith a few years ago – we think of you guys all the time! Hope our paths cross soon to catch up


  4. Loved reading this Steve. Great great stuff! 🙂 You are a wonderful employee of God and great child as well…although, I am left wondering if there are child labor laws that apply to this? 😉


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