the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare….(2 Pe 3:10).
There is something about the opening up of our hearts that is so transformational to the soul. The more I share my story, the deeper my healing goes. It goes even further when someone listens without judgment. The beauty of place-sharing is this, we allow for people to come with their woundedness, but we do not come with our expectations of what they should do with it. The most beautiful thing any human being can do for one another is not further de-humanized them by placing overbearing expectations on their behavior or convincing them to follow their set of arguments. The most transformative thing we can do for one another is to become a beacon of light for the darkness of their heart.
The heart turns and swells with joy when the vision becomes clear that the ship will be guided towards hope. When the ship is wrecked by our own idea of what the individual needs to do, they turn from shore to seek safer shelter. When we point people towards Christ it’s His love that transforms the heart.
Could it be that we have so grossly misunderstood ministry that our idea of it has actually kept true ministry from happening in people’s lives? There is a place we are all trying to reach towards. It is the glories of heaven. If me taking you there resolves in me letting go of your hand, because you did not follow my plan for your life, then what I have done for you is send you away from what we all need most; love. I have not shown you the gospel at all.
In this journey, we must remember that the person most broken is the body you live in. When we start to believe its everyone else, we have a problem. Our problem doesn’t lie with others, truly, it lies deep within our own hearts.
As we minister to others we must remember that it is love that guides them, not our stern rebukes done without love. Sometimes we spend so much time protecting the wrong things, that we neglect to care for the individual. We protect our pride, need to be right and our fears. All the while, we shut out the broken and dispose of them on the roadside as a problem to be swept away and not a human being to love.
When you think about entering into “ministry,” understand that it does not start with a program, church building or event. It starts with a person, most likely, the one you misunderstand the most. The person who comes with their baggage to see if there is a place for them to land and lay down their burdens. The problem in much of church culture is that we have no place for people to lay down their burdens because we are more concerned about using that room to fill seats then to fil burdens.
I see in my own heart something that is working its way out. It’s pride and the wrong idea of what ministry is “supposed” to look like. It’s a deep misunderstanding of what the gospel lived out really is. I believe what God is showing me is that ministry is made manifest through our time and our presence. The brokenness of our world will not be healed through a program or even a church building. It will, however, be healed through the slow process of God’s people rising up from their seats to be the sweet aroma of Christ to a hurting single mom who has been abused by her ex-lovers. It will happen when the people of God come alongside a man caught in the trap of addiction and a child dealing with the trauma of neglect and abuse. Maybe our fingerprints will seem small, but as we leave them all on one person after another God grows us, in gospel-centered love for one another.
Lord, I have been quick to neglect the broken. I have glossed over them as something that kept me from being able to do ministry. Forgive me, I have neglected your heart for ministry. Lord, you change people. Your truth guides them. Use my life to be one of love that guides them with grace towards your truth for your namesake, in Jesus name, Amen.