Ministry opportunities – yes, I am back to that. They come in all shapes and sizes, and often, they appear when you least expect them. For example, I have been blessed these last couple of months to be invited to do a Bible Study with a very special group of people from outside of our church. I can only say that I hope that the participants are getting half as much out of our time together as I am. This is a multi-cultural group that is about as different from any congregation that I have ever been part of. And I have had a blast getting to know a little bit about these people, and I have been ministered to by their acceptance of me. This is a ministry opportunity for which I was not looking, but it is one that has truly impacted my life.
Jesus described His ministry in Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV):
18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
By the way, if you are looking for a good mission statement for your life or church, you cannot do any better than this. This, to me, is ministry. It was Jesus’ ministry, and since we have been sent to do what He did, it is our ministry. “Preach the gospel to the poor,” it says. This includes those who live in poverty – financially and spiritually. “Heal the brokenhearted,” it says. How many people do we encounter on a daily basis whose hearts have been broken by hurtful people using hurtful words and actions? How many people do we know whose hearts we have broken by our own personal choices? And yet, Jesus says that ministry is about healing the brokenhearted. “Proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and set at liberty those who are oppressed.” That is a tall order, isn’t it? But that’s what ministry does.
Now, before you read this and decide that there is no way that you can do this, let me explain something. All of this is possible when we live out the Christian life, and by that I mean really live it out. It’s kind of like the movie we saw last night – Woodlawn. In the midst of the racial tensions of the 1970s in Birmingham, there were lots of poor, brokenhearted, and oppressed people, both black and white. But in this school and community, God showed up, and when a handful of people decided to truly live out the Christian life and love those around them, everything changed. Riots turned into rallies. Barriers were broken down, and those held in captive to their bigotry were set free. Hearts were mended, and spiritually blind eyes were made to see.
All it takes to do ministry is to let God show up in your life and use you for His glory. So the next time a ministry opportunity appears, seize the moment. Say yes to God, and watch what He can do!