In all the chaos that is going on in our world; the Japan earthquake/tsunami crisis, the Libya turmoil, the rising gas prices, the scarce job market, and let’s throw in medial issues, relationship issues, and those haunting inner feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and loneliness (ok now I’m getting depressed),there is some good news out there.
Yes, there is good news, like the grandma and teenage grandson that were found alive in one of the hardest hit locations of the tsunami! That was so wonderful. It breathed some hope into the ever-rising and most-discouraging count of those whose lives were cut short.
Another bit of good news that I have been reading about comes from some Christian young adults in Japan seeking to help in any way possible. Though they are ‘ministry’ trained in sharing the message of salvation and Bible study, God is using them in a ministry of just showing up.
One of these amazing Christians wrote about what happened to him as he was helping and had an opportunity just to be with and talk to a local pastor of one of the devastated areas. It was one of those Ah-Ha moments that was life-changing, and it may have an impact on you as it did me. Let’s listen in to his thoughts…
— I’ve been thinking about what we’ve been doing up here, and it’s changing my perspective about “ministry” a little. I’ve been taught to focus on sharing the gospel and making disciples, and rightly so, I think. But it is easy to turn that focus into an agenda that pushes out other important aspects of who I am supposed to be as a follower of Christ.
What I mean is: In the past I would not have thought much about simply sitting down to listen to a pastor for his encouragement. “Real” ministry would have been to teach or equip not just listen and small talk.
I would not have thought much about bringing relief supplies if there was no opportunity to share the gospel. “Real” ministry would be sharing the supplies and the gospel message.
Please don’t misunderstand me – I do want to take every possible opportunity to be a witness for Christ, to share the gospel, to tell others that the reason we’re helping is that the love of Christ compels us.
The question is: what if there is no opportunity to give a verbal witness? Is it still worthwhile to do mercy ministry? My answer earlier might have been, “I’ve been called to make disciples and so I won’t get involved if there’s no opportunity to share the gospel.”
But now I’ve begun to think not only in terms of what I’ve been called to do, but who I’ve been called to be.
I am called to love my neighbor as myself. Period.
I am called to feel compassion and respond as the Good Samaritan did when he helped the man on the road. Period.
I am called to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). Period.
Again, I DO want to share the gospel every chance I can, and be a witness whenever I can. But even if I can’t witness with words, I am still supposed to love my neighbor, show compassion, and do good to everyone as I have opportunity, and especially to other believers.
That’s what we did today, and it felt good to do so. I hope that through our efforts, Japanese people will come to understand that Christians are compassionate, loving people.
As I read this, I thought of our church and the ten cities that surround us. Do they understand that we Christians are compassionate, loving people?
I was reminded of Jesus’ words when He said…
Matthew 22:37-39 37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
In Luke’s account of this (Luke 10) someone asked “Who is our neighbor?” At that Jesus told them the story of “The Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:26-37). Where our neighbors are those in need, where we take on a ministry of showing up and helping out.
As well, in Jeremiah 29:4-7, the challenge is to join with others and be a part of the community God has placed you in so people will see Christ’s love in you. Have a ministry by showing up.
Of all the places God could have placed you, He placed you where you are so you would have a ministry of showing His love so people who don’t know Jesus would experience His love through you.
Joining you in a ministry of showing up,