Robert Morris, founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, writes in his book, Truly Free, “God has called you into a ministry that’s beyond your own strength. You may not think you have a ministry beyond yourself, but you do.”
I’ve long believed that, as Christians, we all have a ministry to others, both believers and nonbelievers. We may not be ordained pastors or ministers. We may not be anointed prophets or teachers. But wherever we are, we are in a position to minister to someone else.
Parents minister to their children, teachers to the students, doctors and nurses to their patients, police officers to the citizens, business people to their employees and to their customers.
We just don’t always realize it. If we are Christians, we are ministers. We may minister to the person in the grocery line next to us. Or the neighbor who doesn’t have someone to mow her lawn. Or the lonely appearing couple in the restaurant.
And, as Pastor Morris writes, we can’t do it on our own.
What is ministry? At its basic, it’s helping and serving others. It can be a smile or an encouraging word. It can be a genuine thank you to the server who waited on us in the restaurant. It can be jumping into the midst of a crisis with someone, hugging them, helping them face tough decisions, providing physical or financial assistance to help them get through the first stages.
Ministry is also being sensitive to their spiritual needs. Sometimes we pray with them. Other times we pray for them, interceding. We give them someone to talk to, to vent with, to share every ugly stage of grief and know they won’t be judged or just patted on the head.
What can sometimes take a long time to realize is that we can’t do it on our own. We think we can but we soon find ourselves physically and mentally fatigued and emotionally and spiritually exhausted. But we continue to press on. And, in our determination to do it ourselves, pride takes over. Pride is a tool of the devil to block us from accessing the source of all we need to be successful in our ministry.
Time with God and his Word and time in prayer and meditation are the first and best resources he has given us to complete the ministry he has given us. But he’s also given us people to minister to us, to encourage and recharge us, to confirm his instructions to us, to help us remember we can’t do it alone. My wife is great at reining me in when my enthusiasm threatens to push me too hard. My pastor and church also support and strengthen me. And God has blessed me with friends who are gifted to speak bluntly and lovingly into my life, to remind me I’m not flying solo.
And to remind me all I do is not for me. It’s for him, for his glory and honor and purpose.
How have you ministered to others in your daily life?
How have you been reminded you can’t do it alone?
Thanks for this insightful pondering, Henry. I wouldn’t have thought to use that word regarding myself and yet it’s so true. I, too, am a minister with a ministry; with overlapping roles in the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of many peoples lives. Such responsibility is overwhelming when faced in black and white, and I am struck by how generous and trusting God is to let us take such part in the lives of all those He loves so greatly. That He would think so highly of us. That He would actually encourage us. It’s not a job. It’s a blessing. Thanks for your support and encouragement to me too.
I love the idea of ministering in the moment. A kind word, a hug, or a smile can change a person’s day. Every day, I look for a moment to be kind or encouraging to another person. When I’m the receiver of a small kindness, it lifts my spirit and urges me to do the same. A little bit of love can go a long way!
I’ve seen you do this every week, Diane. You are a blessing.