“Then Jesus told him, ‘Go back home. Your son will live!’” (John 4:50a NLT)
In a previous post I mentioned that some of the best and some of the worst people I’ve met, were in the church. The reality is, some of them were the same person. God doesn’t call us to serve perfect people, only sinners like ourselves. Fellow strugglers, saved by grace. People just like me . . . and you!
As I think of my ministry (service for Christ), the years are a blur. What stands out are the times the Lord asked me to faithfully share in the best and worst moments of people’s lives.
There was a police officer in a church I served. We were born on the same day. We became fast friends and did a lot of things together. Our wives and families bonded, and our love was deep. He was a big man, but among the kindest and most gentle men I’ve ever known. He told me about a time he went on a domestic call, where a woman had called the police because her husband was abusing her.
He told me these were his least favorite calls because he never knew what to expect. In this call, it became evident from the start that the man was under the influence of something and was not going to calm down. My friend tried to subdue him, but in the process was attacked by his wife. I see in this scenario a parable of life.
We sometimes do a similar thing with God. We call out to Him to send us help for whatever trouble we have, but when He sends someone, rather than embrace them as an answer to prayer, we “fight” them, resisting the very help we’ve prayed to receive.
Very few people over the years have reminded me of something they heard me say or learned from one of the hundreds of messages I’ve spent many hours preparing. More often it’s been of a time God enabled me to meet them in their hour of heartache and pain. Gratefully, ministry allows times of joy-filled celebration, but those moments aren’t usually with crowds of people. Sometimes a phone conversation or card when someone you’ve served calls or writes to say: “Thank you, pastor, for being there when I really needed someone to care.”
Often, like my police officer friend, I see people at their worst, not just their best. Yet, these, too, are sacred moments that bring tears of gratitude to God for the matchless privilege of being His servant. Because it’s in those moments I realize with humility that the help the folks received in their desperate times of need, didn’t come from me, but from Jesus.
Ministry isn’t about me or you. Never was, never will be. It’s only and always about Him. If we’re ever to be effective in our calling, whether in Pastoral ministry, nursing, education, technology or any other field, that effectiveness will come in direct proportion to our unreserved devotion to our Master and Friend, the Lord Jesus. He alone gave Himself on a shameful Cross, for the love of us. It’s our privilege to allow His love to flow through us.
My heart breaks when I consider the multiplied millions of people who need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear to hear their story, eyes that will see them and not allow them to be lost in the crowd. I often wonder how these lost and dying people will hear the Good News of Jesus before it’s eternally too late. And the Lord reminds me: “The same way they’ve always come to Me – one prayer at a time!”
Will you consecrate time every day to pray for those in your spheres of influence? Those in your family, work environment, neighborhood, coffee shop, wherever you go from day to day, who are trying to live their life without the hope of Jesus? The Holy Spirit alone can break down the walls of resistance between them and Jesus, the only One who is the answer to their desperation.
Blessings, Ed 😊