Yes, There are ‘Thorns’ in Vocational Ministry Too

Even ministry jobs exist in a fallen, broken world.

Here’s where we realize there are some profound misconceptions circulating about the nature of vocational ministry, the biggest of which might be the idea that ministry will (finally) bring vocational fulfillment. In a world where everything is bent towards existential satisfaction, it’s not hard to see why vocational ministry is viewed this way. Like everything else, ministry can quickly become about what it can do for us—how it can give us happiness, a sense of purpose, etc. 


Last week, The New York Times published an insightful and intriguing article by Charles Duhigg entitled, “Wealthy, Successful, and Miserable.”

Duhigg, himself a graduate of Harvard’s Business School, explores the level of job satisfaction attained by America’s highest achievers.  These individuals, on the surface, look like they have it all. Impressive degrees, high-power jobs, and lots of money.

Surely, if anyone would be happy, it would be these folks.  And yet, Duhigg discovers, most of these folks are profoundly miserable.

It turns out that our modern era’s unprecedented economic success is matched only by the unprecedented amount of job dissatisfaction that has come with it. Professional disappointment is at an all-time high.

Duhigg interviewed one individual who captured the sentiment of much of corporate America: “I feel like I’m wasting my life.”

While the results of this study will be shocking to many in the modern day, it is not all that surprising from a biblical perspective. Not only do worldly riches fail to satisfy, but we live in a fallen world where our labors are regularly frustrated.  Due to the fall of Adam, God said, “cursed is the ground because of you . . . thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you” (Gen 3:17-18).

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