In my class today, we discussed the term:  MINISTRY

When asked what this means, the general answers had to do with something a preacher does.  They didn’t understand that, a person in Christ, IS a minister, at least in the sense that we are all called to minister to others.  We are responsible to minister to those around us who have needs.  Whether the need is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, God calls each of us to be AWARE of needs around us.  Once we are aware of a need, He wants us to figure out how to meet that need.

The main points from the lesson:  1.  Ministry is NEEDED.  2.  Ministry is SELFLESS. and  3.  Ministry is VERTICAL (*attribution for these three points is below)

FMSC Distribution Partner - World Harvest Chri...

FMSC Distribution Partner – World Harvest Christian Ministries – (Photo credit: Feed My Starving Children (FMSC))

1.  Ministry is NEEDED.

Not many would argue with the first point.  People all around us are in need.  In fact, we are in need too.  God calls us to meet certain needs for certain people.  If He brings them to your awareness, you are probably the one He wants to work through.  One problem with this, however, is that we often have our head in our own business (or in our computer, cell phone, gaming system, …) and don’t see the needs that pass us by each day.   So our first step in seeing that Ministry is needed is to open our eyes and look outside ourselves.

2.  Ministry is SELFLESS.

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

Jesus(Photo credit: freestone)

Our passage was Matthew 25:34-40 [see below] where Jesus rewards those who have ministered to Him.  Their response was, “Huh?  What?  When did we ever do anything for you?”  One reason for their surprise might have to do with point 2.  They just ministered as a natural thing.  They didn’t do it for reward.  They did it out of selflessness, and so didn’t see that they had done anything special like:  Minister to Jesus!I mean, if we knew we were ministering to Jesus, I’m guessing many more would step up to the plate.  Unfortunately for us, we minister to Jesus by ministering to ‘the least of these’.  That is that homeless man, the unwashed, the unlovely, etc.  They don’t look like Jesus.  In fact, they might look like someone we would want to stay far away from.  That’s part of the selflessness in ministering.  It’s putting your arm around someone who isn’t lovely or doesn’t smell so good.  It’s about being kind to someone who will then become your shadow because you were kind to them.  It’s about going beyond your own “ickies” and doing it anyway, without a second thought for your own comfort, but an over-arching concern for another human being.

 

Drawing (and idea) by Angela Young
[feel free to use with or without attribution]

3.  Ministry is VERTICAL

In the last point, ministry is about Jesus.  It’s about our relationship with God.  When we do unto the least, we do unto Jesus.  When we grow in our vertical relationship, we become more aware of the horizontal needs around us.  God often sends me people who are Christians but have fallen away from the church and God or people who are grieving.  This is one of my personal ministries because God has gifted me in this area.  While I have certainly ministered in other ways, and seen this type of ministry all my life through my parents, God tends to send me to the people He knows I will be the best help too.  I am also much more likely to have an awareness of those particular needs.

Do you have a personal ministry?  Where do your ministry gifts lie?   Are you willing to minister wherever God calls you?  Are your senses open to the needs of those around you?  Have you ever passed a ministry by because you were too busy or didn’t want to deal with the person?  I have to say yes to every one of these questions, and I must confess to developing a certain apathy at times.   I have also fallen into the “yeah, but I’m tired, I can’t do that, you don’t really need me, ….” syndrome as well.  I suspect I’m not alone.  Today, I confess any apathy in my heart and repent.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

*3 points of lesson and term AWARE taken from:   Life FOCUS Leader Guide (ISSN:  1945 – 0907; Item 005075013). Summer 2012.  June 17, Midweek plan.  Written by Joel Carter and Anna McKenzie.

Casting Crowns:  Does Anybody Hear Her?     http://youtu.be/viZ6H_2E7iU

Anyone want to give me a lesson in how to get these to embed?  Embed code doesn’t seem to work.  I hope you’ll click the link and listen to it though. 🙂

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