When I think of what this idea of “ministry” is, whether vocational or intertwined with the work marketplace, parenthood, or family – it is the joyful joining of God in meeting needs in Christ Jesus. Moving His kingdom forward inch by inch by His power and your gifting.
Planting seeds of truth.
Encouraging hearts over coffee.
Studying the Word of God with a younger believer.
Making tiny disciples of children.
Sitting with a hurting soul in their hour of crisis.
Lifting the burden of poverty.
Healing broken bodies.
Ministry takes on a myriad of forms, because human needs are myriad in nature. It is a straight-up honor to be invited into His purposes; yet there is a danger that can ensnare our hearts in the ever-pouring-out.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for this is why I came out.”
I find my heart wonderfully lifted to read that the unlimited and Almighty God, clothed Himself in the same limited and frail human skin that I wear today. He knows our limitations, likely better than I know my own. He, too, left things undone. This is astounding to me. People unhealed. Conversations unspoken. Needs unmet.
He met with the Father in the morning before any human could dictate Jesus’ priorities. And when the disciples came to scurry the Healer on to the next day’s work, He had other plans. He moved on. His eyes on the will of His Father, he knew why He had come and He went on to preach in the next town. It feels sticky to reconcile the needs of the people with Jesus’ willingness to leave them unfinished, yet we know His heart to be kind. And we know He would soon give Himself to the end on the cross. So this unfinished business, it wasn’t the self-preserving kind.
Friends, we are not greater than our master. It came at a great shock to me that I am not omnipresent and all-powerful like our God. These days I’m on the crazy train where I think I can be putting food on the table for my daughters while repeating scripture memory, texting a friend, praying for another, planning my afternoon where I will also conquer the world in two short hours.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
I am not omnipresent nor all-powerful, I am tired. I fall vastly short of the needs around me, and you do too. Our solution is neither to despair and throw in the towel, nor to buck up and barrel through. It is, like Jesus, to abide in the Father, commune with Him so we have His heart replacing our own, say a full and loving “yes” to what we are asked, and entrust the rest to Him.
Maybe it isn’t the busyness of ministering to people that ensnares you, perhaps its the results that are frustratingly slow or entirely invisible. Pouring out for what feels like a fool’s errand. Take heart in Jesus again, dear ones. He performed miracles, fed thousands of bodies, lifted Lazarus from the dead, died for sin and rose again, yet left this world behind with mostly scoffers. He alone raises souls from darkness. We are the joyful participants, He is the primary worker. You are free to love and speak truth and pour out in Jesus’ name, because He’s got the whole world in His hands.
“But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Jesus steps in before the scoffers on his sister’s behalf. They criticize her for recklessly breaking her alabaster perfume, not knowing her intentions, and Jesus covers her.
“She has done a beautiful thing to me … She has done what she could.”
She didn’t save the poor, she freely poured it out for her greatest love – Jesus. The little boy didn’t give his five loaves and two fish parceled out to feed several bystanders, he offered it up to Jesus who greatly multiplied and made the not-enough, enough.
My prayer for my heart and for yours today? That we would freely commune closely with our Father, freely pour ourselves out to Jesus, doing what we can, and freely trust the results to Him.