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astronauts and archeologists

Over at the Gospel Coalition blog, I read a recent post by Paul Tripp about how one’s perspective on their ministry changes as they grow older.  In particular, I liked how he contrasted astronauts with archeologists.  I’ve included a snippet below.  I’d encourage you to read the entire post.


The longer you’re in pastoral ministry, the more you move from being an astronaut to an archaeologist. When you’re young, you’re excitedly launching to worlds unknown. You have all of the major decisions of life and ministry before you, and you can spend your time assessing your potential and considering opportunities. It’s a time of exploration and discovery. It’s a time to go where you’ve never been before and do what you’ve never done. It’s a time to begin to use your training and gain experience.

But as you get older in ministry, you begin to look back at least as much as you look forward. As you look back, you tend to dig through the mound of the civilization that was your past life and ministry, looking for pottery shards of thoughts, desires, choices, actions, words, decisions, and relationships. You can’t help but assess how you have done with what you have been given.