Ministry That Matters

29 10 2013

I recently realized that none of Jesus’ disciples were “saved” when He called them to follow Him. Not one of them was a “Christian” – a believer.

This thought returns often as I ponder the significance of this truth.

Somehow, many have the idea that “ministry” in the church (i.e. to teach, preach, lead worship, or usher, etc.) is the “do-all” “end-all” of our existence. I’m having to re-think this belief. Corporate gatherings are for the purpose of worshiping our Lord and equipping the body.

Equipped for what? By today’s standards, the purpose would seem to be so we could have a happier week between services.

However, Jesus said,

“Love one another

as I loved you.”

(John 13:34)

The word have makes me ask, “when”? Is He referring to these men at the end of their lives, when they finally “arrived” at spiritual maturity?

Or does He mean in the same way as He loved them…when they were first invited to join Him? You know, when they were a bunch of fishermen, a tax collector, a thief, etc.

Further, Scripture tells us that not many wise, not many mighty, and not many noble are called. Instead, He calls the foolish, the weak, and the base (insignificant) 1 Corinthians 1:26,27.

Why then, I have to ask, do I devote my time and attention to those who are wise, mighty, and noble in their own eyes – and not to the weak, broken, cast off, and dismissed as worthless by society?

My preference is the company of people who are “cleaned up,” and would rather “preach to the choir” than get my hands dirty with the “scum of the earth.”

In this, I have never been less Christ-like.

This confession grieves me.

When I meet a person who’s “train wreck” of a life seems hopeless, I am often quick to dismiss them as useless. Mentally, I’ve run through what it would take to wade into their mess and make a disciple of them. It would require prayer, time, courage, and perseverance. This will take more effort than it’s worth, I think, and move on to those with a “tidier” life…usually this means other Christians.

When faced with people who were blind, though, Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28)

I believe this is His question to us today.

Do we believe that He is able to:

heal the brokenhearted

preach deliverance to the captives

give sight to the blind, and

set at liberty those who are oppressed?

(Luke 4:18-19)

Or has His ministry been reduced to making His body of believers more comfortable by improving their lifestyles?

How we spend our days reveals what we truly believe concerning this matter.

Jesus’ call is to go make disciples. This means that they aren’t disciples yet! 

…and are probably not sitting in the pew next to us.

We will have to go to them. They will be found in the highways and the hedges (Luke 14:23).

This sounds like the hitchhikers and homeless to me.

They may be a mess.

So were we.

This may take courage, time, and perseverance.

I’m glad Jesus stuck it out with me!

They might seem hopeless.

Nothing is impossible with God.

When we reach out to those who believe themselves to be healthy, we are brushed off as having useless information. Why do they need God? Life is good.

However, Jesus said to the “healthy” religious Pharisees,

“Those who are whole have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’

For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

(Matthew 9:12-13)

As His body, let us

Go therefore and do likewise!

(Luke 10:37)

This is a tall order…our Great Commission, given to us by the Lord. Tomorrow we’ll discuss how we can be equipped to fulfill this call.

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18 responses

13 11 2013
sagescenery

Reblogged this on godssceneryandpromises and commented:
I love this!!!

13 11 2013
sagescenery

I love this!!!! Reblogging on: godssceneryandpromises

13 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks!

\o/

3 11 2013
dianarasmussen

I love how spunky you are Tami, and I love how you shake me up – thank you, I don’t want to be a pew-hugger!

6 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

30 10 2013
StephenWhoElse

Reading this post reminded me of this verse:
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Cor 1:3-4)

If God has lifted us out from the same mess that the brokenhearted, downtrodden and desperate people are in, then we have a big responsibility to share with them the same comfort we received from God.

A truly piercing article that demands deep soul-searching from all of us. Thanks.

30 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Stephen. It is very challenging to me. It’s one thing to sit here and write about it…another matter entirely to step out in faith and do it. Time will tell! (Oh, Lord, I need Your help!) 🙂

\o/

29 10 2013
nopew

This is one of the religious secrets – to go and not wait for people to come!! It means touching lepers, spitting in mud to cure blindness, letting prostitutes convert and serve humbly, eating with rejects. Religion wants us to dress up neat and come into a clean building and sing sanitized songs to a theoretical Higher Power. What you wrote is what no religion wants people to know. May people hear it and be won to it and get down (and dirty!) to it with those who are down there!! I know I am biased as I have spent the last years telling this. I have been rejected by religion, thrown out by religious clergy and spent much time weeping for the spiritually blind who keep crucifying Christ in those who follow Jesus. I have seen some rescued from religion, and others circle the wagons to keep out the Truth. When people grasp that Jesus is the Head of The Church (and tolerates no rivals) they burst out into service to those who need serving, whatever their condition. This is the one fact that could change the world!
Peace

29 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your thoughtful response.

One phrase I keep hearing is “Be the change.” The only way I can be this kind of change is to be fully surrendered to the Lord and filled with His Spirit.

This message challenges me on many levels. Some of it I do well, some not so hot. May I grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord…and have the courage to actually be His body and reach out to others in the same way as He did while He was here.

\o/

29 10 2013
inthepottershands988

Loved this challenging challenging question, Tami! Do we really believe He can heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free? I’m going to mull over that question for awhile. We as Christians must be willing to get into the mess of other people’s lives if we are going to reach them with the Gospel. Thanks, Tami!! Blessings in Christ!! 🙂

29 10 2013
Jo

I love your clear thinking honesty. We need to hear more of this in our comfortable church communities

29 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Lord, reach our hearts and teach us to be more like You.

\o/

29 10 2013
Pure Glory

A challenging message. Living the Christian walk is not for wimps. Hope for the hopeless!

29 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m very grateful to the woman who was willing to wade into the mess of my life and show me the way out again. Without her shepherd’s heart (and the help of the Lord, of course), I shudder to think what I’d be doing today.

I want to pass it on!

\o/

29 10 2013
Pure Glory

Wonderful! A seed was planted in your life and it multiplies into many others’ lives. God redeems and changes us from the inside out!

29 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Amen. “From the inside out” is the key, I believe. If I come at it from the outside in, the change never lasts, and I worry about how I look to others.

\o/

29 10 2013
beverley

Whenever we invite someone to hear about Jesus Christ we are saying the same has he did ‘Come Follow Me’ – Jesus of course. That was the first message Jesus gave to his disciples and then at the he told them to ‘feed my sheep, feed my lambs’.

29 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

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