Summary: Ministering to others begins with praying to God for his guidance, power and blessing in opportunities to make his grace known through ministry.
Ever notice how you pick up little habits from people without even noticing it? When I first became a Christian, the preacher at the University Church was a positive, encouraging gentleman named Harold Jones. He would always speak about the ‘wonderful love of Jesus’ and bob up and down on his tip-toes as he did. Now I do it too. Without even realizing I’ve done it.
I remember two great young men I worked with in Kansas City – Mike and Jeremy. Both guys were exciting teenagers. Anytime they would get fired-up about something they’d shout ‘yea’ and throw their fists in the air in triumph. I didn’t even realize I had picked this up myself until I did it – in a meeting with the elders.
Often you’ll see me sitting down with people, sitting with my hands behind my head, clasping one wrist. Know where that comes from? My father. I just picked it up without thinking about it.
And nothing changes your vocabulary and lifestyle like having children. Without ever planning it, the word ‘potty’ became a part of our everyday language. I no longer excuse myself from the table to visit the restroom; I have to ‘go potty.’ The other day we’re driving down 71st street looking for a restaurant. Without even noticing I’m doing it, I started singing “We are looking for Tony Roma’s; wonder where it is.” Those of you with toddlers will recognize the tune as being from Nickelodeon’s hit show, “Blue’s Clues.” I’ve never wanted to pick up that tune, it just rubbed off on me.
These things happen. We pick up things from people without even noticing it has happened. Of course, this can happen in a positive way, on purpose as well. We start spending time with someone who we respect as a leader to learn from them. We study with a teacher to discover their study habits. You pray with a prayer warrior to strengthen your prayer lives.
Today, I want to invite you to approach the Master Servant – the Minister of all ministers – to hear his life-call to ministry for any who would follow him.
God has called us to act as agents of Grace who live in ministry to one another. One of the foundational purposes of this church is to equip and empower people to be ministers. We believe all believers all called to a lifestyle of servant ministry. We believe that God calls us and uniquely positions each of us to minister on His behalf. We are to act towards one another out of the love that has been poured so freely on us by our Heavenly Father.
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Matthew 20: 25-28
We know we are to follow Christ’s example and give our lives away in service and ministry. Yet this is so hard for us to do. We struggle with being a servant, with ministering to others.
We struggle with complacency. We have this strange tendency to be consumers and spectators. We walk around treating every situation like we’re food critics in a new restaurant. We expect everything and everyone to cater to us. We act as if breaking a sweat would be as painful as breaking our legs. Reminds me of how someone described a college football game in the fourth quarter: “22 guys in need of a break, 70,000 people badly in need of exercise.”
We struggle with duplicity. We have a struggle with compartmentalizing our faith with other rigors of our life. Put our faith into one area of our life and don’t know how to bring it to bear on personal decisions in our own life, not to mention in the lives of others. We act as if we are two (or more) different people depending on which situation we’re in.
We struggle with timidity. We either have a severe problem with our confidence or an absence of any initiative. We’re afraid to step out and serve others. We’re afraid that we can’t provide the help someone needs. We believe little good exists within ourselves or our ability to serve.
Some statements you might hear about why someone hasn’t given themselves to ministry:
1. I’m not good enough.
2. I don’t know enough about God.
3. I don’t know what to do.