MTS Director Ben Pfahlert’s reflections on Eager to Serve by Ray Galea (Matthias Media 2022)
“Eager to Serve” by Ray Galea is one of the best 20 books I have read in my life. Ray takes us for a scuba dive … deep into the divine waters of Philippians. The pages drip with decades of ministry experience and each chapter ends with profound prayers, wonderful reflection questions and inspiring personal testimonies.
There are 5 chapters:
- Single minded for the cause of Christ (Phil 1:1-2)
- Consider others first for the sake of the gospel (Phil 1:4-6, 12-29)
- Guarding the gospel (Phil 3)
- Handling anxiety as a gospel worker (Phil 4:4-7)
- Gospel generosity (Phil 4:8-23)
There are 6 personal testimonies of people from very different backgrounds; many of which made me cry:
- Rob Abboud
- Iszy (not real name, identity protected for safety reasons)
- Sarah Anderson
- Maggie Ha
- Bruce Winters
- Matt Anderson (by Perry and Kim Anderson)
There are 5 deep, rich and wonderful prayers printed at the end of each chapter. I love that. Ray wants the fruit of “Eager to Serve” to be transformation not just information. By calling upon God in prayer, we are so much more likely to be changed by the power of the Spirit of Christ.
There are also 5 sets of 3 “Reflection Questions” at the end of each chapter. They’re open & easily understood questions. No jargon, no pretense … you can imagine them inspiring a really open and honest discussion. The questions (& prayers) inspire me to read “Eager to Serve” with others.
“Eager to Serve” will inspire you to serve like Jesus whether you’ve come faith last Wednesday or you’re getting ordained next Friday.
“Eager to Serve” is also extremely helpful for wisely broaching the topic of raising up harvest workers.
Ray wrestles with the complexity. He debunks the myth that those who don’t go into vocational gospel work are second class citizens … but at the same time ‘critiques any view that fails to prioritise gospel work.’
Ray examines the often-misunderstood distinction between ‘ministry of the word and ministry of works’. Ever practical Ray shares that MBM Rooty Hill, the church he pastored for 30 years, had a motto, ‘We seek to relieve suffering in this age, and even more so, the age to come.’ Ray cares deeply about the welfare of his fellow citizens but challenges us all with this statement: ‘the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is good news because it is the only lifeline thrown out to humanity.’ The reality of hell chastises all causes.
“Eager to Serve” says, “Be like your Saviour”.
“Eager to Serve” inspired me, Ben Pfahlert, to reconsider everything. It inspired me to deny myself daily, and to sacrifice everything for the sake of the lost. How did Ray do that? By exegeting the beautiful portrait painted of Jesus in Philippians. Wonderful stuff.
In “Eager to Serve” Ray Galea ‘spills the tea’. He opens his heart and allows us to see how he (& Sandy) applied Philippians to 30 years of Christian leadership. It gets pretty earthy. The book is worth buying for Chapter 4 alone, “Handling Anxiety as a Gospel Worker”.
I’d be very surprised if you’re the same person after reading “Eager to Serve” as you were before.
I want to give this book to every prospective ministry apprentice in Australia and abroad. Why? Because it paints a glorious picture of just how “eager to serve” Jesus was.
I read it in two sittings. I commend “Eager to Serve” to you.