Selfish Motivation

March 9th, 2013

Robert Greenleaf, in his book, Servant Leadership, tells of twelve ministers and twelve psychiatrists of all faiths who convened for a two-day off-the-record seminar on the word, healing. They asked these questions, "We are all healers, whether we are ministers or doctors. Why are we in this business? What is our motivation?" After just a few minutes of discussion everyone agreed (doctors, ministers, Catholics, Jews and Protestants). The unanimous answer to the question is this, "for our own healing."

During my recent psychiatric evaluation for my certification (that I ranted about here), I was asked this in a similar way. I was asked how and why I am drawn to a ministry of spritual care, if I have to be so conscious of it for myself. If you know me well, you know I am one that has to work at slowing down to "smell the roses." And even though it does not come naturally, it is what I long to do for myself and for others. I long for greater care of my spirit. I long for healing and wholeness. Yes, I want it for myself too.

Healing and wholeness cannot be bottled and sold. If it could, I would have bought it up a long time ago. And, I'd be rich by now, because I guarantee it would sell. There is a misconception that those of us called to healing ministries have it all figured out. The truth is that we too are longing for healing. My hope is we can journey together toward that healing. Greenleaf says

"This is an interesting word, healing, with its meaning, 'to make whole.' The example above suggests that one really never makes it. It is always something sought. Perhaps, as with the minister and the doctor, the servant-leader might also acknowledge that his own healing is his motivation."

I couldn't agree more.

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