Fuel for thought

Not a perfect metaphor, but an interesting one:
“The church is a service station. Now a car will run for a while without having to be serviced, but not for long. It has to have its energy (fuel) supply replenished. It has to have broken parts repaired. It has to be renewed – new tyres, oil and water. Otherwise it will soon be unable to fulfil its purpose. But no-one in his right mind buys a car in order to
take it to the service station. No normal person wants to keep his car around the service station all the time. Service stations are a means to an end. They provide what we need to continue our journey, to get back into the world, and to keep moving toward our destination. It is very important that some people be willing to train themselves for work at the service station, and offer themselves in that vocation.
They are absolutely necessary.
But just think what would happen if everybody got the idea that the only true vocation was to work at a service station! So it is with the church. There are absolutely vital and indispensable ministries that go on within its walls;sacramental, educational and social. But it is a terrible mistake to think that these make up the real ministry of the church”

From The Calling of the Laity Verna Dozier Alban (1988), 84-5

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