Life and Ministry in a Broken-Down World

Sometimes you just have one of those days. Other times you have one of those weeks, or months, or years when it becomes painfully obvious that we are living in a world that is deeply broken. This is not just an abstract concept. Indeed, we are broken people living among other broken people. This is why trying to live life in community is relentlessly difficult. It is never easy. It is sometimes a glad labor but it is always a labor. I hope that does not sound cynical but my experience tells me that life and ministry among people like me (saved sinners) is difficult work that must be engaged in deliberately.

In his new book Broken-Down House Paul Tripp deals with this reality.
The fact that you live in a broken-down house in the midst of restoration makes everything more difficult. It removes the ease and simplicity of life. It requires you to be more thoughtful, more careful. It requires you to listen and see well. It requires you to look out for difficulty and to be aware of danger. It requires you to contemplate and plan. It requires you to do what you don't really want to do and to accept what you find difficult to accept. You want to simply coast, but you can't. Things are broken and they need to be fixed. There is work to do.

You can tell if a house is being condemned or restored by the size of the tools that are in use. If there's a crane equipped with a wrecking ball out front, you can give up on restoration. But if there are a lot of hand tools around, that's a sign of hope. True restoration takes patience, subtlety, skill, and grace...

A primary goal of all this diagnosis, description, warning, comfort and council is to call us to certain ways of living. Why would you need to be 'completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,' (Eph 4:2-3) if you were not living in a community of flawed people where this kind of character is essential? Relationships in a fallen world are hard. Miniistry to flawed people is fraught with difficulty. Character is needed because the world is broken.