Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 10, 2007

"Our little becomes much when placed in the Master's hands." Unknown

Many people define "ministry" as something only paid church staff is responsible for along with the missionaries that are commissioned on behalf of the church. However, that is not Biblical at all. Every believer is equipped with at least one spiritual gift. "But to each one [believer] is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." I Cor. 12:7. We are also given talents and abilities....all to be used for the glory of God. None of us are exempt from ministry!

Some people have a ministry and do not even realize it. If you asked them what their ministry was, they would say "Oh, I don't have a ministry. I don't have any talent...I can't teach or sing or speak in front of others." But they DO have a ministry. They are doing what God has equipped them to do. Let me give you a few examples:

I had an aunt who thought she had no talents or abilities. She was a very hard worker, having worked in several different factories in her life as well as tending to a huge truck patch that provided income to her and her husband. This woman could cook like no one I've ever known! And her greatest joy was in cooking and sharing it with others. In her later years, she would often bake a cake and call the fire department or the police department and tell them she had them a cake if they would just come and get it. Whenever she heard of a need...someone sick, someone with a death in the family, she was baking for them and sending them a meal. When someone came to visit, she loaded them down with produce from her garden or canned goods from her pantry. If you gave her something, she sent you home with twice as much. You could never out-give her! Yet she was humble and felt she was nothing special. But she was VERY special. She touched many lives with her generosity. That was her ministry.

I have a friend who is gifted in many ways. She has a beautiful voice and has led children's choirs and sang in the choir as long as I've known her. Now that is a talent that often people will consider "ministry" and it certainly is. But that is not her only ministry. She is a teacher....a language teacher....but not an ordinary teacher. She loves her students and reaches out to them in so many ways. Her classroom is her mission field and she shares the love of Christ with them in so many different ways. God has given her a real gift for language and once again she is using that gift for Him, even outside the classroom as she is leading VBS with Spanish speaking children this summer.

My mother-in-law has the gift of mercy. She can go to a nursing home or to visit shut ins every day of the week. She never gives it a thought. She goes loaded with banana nut bread and her precious smile and she spends time with those she knows like her sister and also with those she doesn't know, but who just need a special touch. She has no idea that she is a "minister", but she is! And she is older than most of them....92!!

I recently heard a story told by Chuck Colson, the creator of Prison Ministries. An elderly lady was confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. But she contacted his ministry and told him she wanted to correspond with some prisoners, to be an encouragement to them. She was given a couple of names and she began writing to them. Soon she was asking for more. She now regularly corresponds with about 13 prison inmates, sharing the love of Christ with them. She is in her 80's and in a place that most of us would consider "the end of the line", yet she is still being used of the Lord.

Each of is equipped to minister if we are a believer. We may already be ministering and not even realize it. Ministry is taking the gifts and abilities that God has given you and offering them back to Him for HIS glory! What is YOUR ministry? In what ways has God gifted you that you can use for HIM?

"Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially those who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6: 10

"Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men." Col. 3: 23.

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