“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
~Matthew 5:7, NRSV
Ministry will REVIVE the church and touch the community.
Some would lead us to believe that everyone is aware of their spiritual hunger and are just waiting on us to tell them about Jesus. I’ve been in ministry 51 years and I have not found this to be true. Occasionally, you run into a person who is ripe for harvest but this is the exception and not the rule. Most people are not interested in Jesus and they are certainly not interested in giving Him their life. So how are we to reach people in this sin sick and frustrated society? I think MINISTRY is the key.
First of all, practically everyone is hurting. Last Sunday I had this unusual feeling that the message was for someone in particular. Thursday I got a text from Mississippi, from a dear friend and I quote…“The message you preached on peace was like, OK Jane Doe, this was meant for you.” Then she shared with me the burden she and her family are under. It reminded me once again, practically everyone is hurting. Many times those who are laughing and joking on the outside are hurting on the inside. I’m not talking about chronic complainers: I am talking about hard working men and women who labor with a broken heart. The human soul, like the body, can be wounded. Sorrow is a wound but it is a clean wound. Sin is a wound, a serious one and it is not a clean wound; it festers with guilt, resentment, bitterness, anger and even depression. Disappointment is a wound, one that you cannot control. Sin can be avoided but not disappointment. In spite of the proverb, “Time does not heal all wounds.”
Here is the big question: are we going to sit around licking our wounds or will we look for those who are hurting around us and lend them a hand. What did Jesus do? I have a parable based on a true story from the early 1900’s. A middle aged single man made a profession of faith but he did not get discipled and he soon became disillusioned with Christianity as a whole. He went to his pastor and confessed: “Remove my name from the roll; I am a hypocrite. I see no joy in Christianity.” The Pastor was visibly shaken by this honest confession and for a moment was lost for words. When he looked down at his desk, he saw a name of a hurting family. Someone had called earlier and gave him the name. It was a woman with several children who had suffered the abuse of an alcoholic husband and father. They were destitute: had no food in the house. The pastor said, “I will do as you ask if you will do me one favor.” “What’s the favor?” Asked the man. “Here is a family that is hungry, would you take them some groceries?” Reluctantly the man agreed but he was not happy about it. He purchased the food items and intended to leave them on the front porch but the kids heard him and opened the door. He was taken back by their poverty and need. He tried to leave but they would have no part of it; the kids grabbed him by the hand and lead him into the house. Once all the groceries were in, the mom, with tears trickling down her face told the kids to get in a circle and hold hands with this man who had brought them food. One of them looked up and said, “Mom, is he an angel?” Of course he made a quick and decisive protest…“no, no I am not an angel.” The woman asked him to lead them in prayer and he said, “Mam, I do not pray in public,” but she ignored him and so did the kids. They bowed their little heads and closed their eyes but they did not dare let go of their new friend’s hand. After a long and uncomfortable pause he prayed and the tears flowed. After the prayer and a time of rejoicing he returned to the pastor’s office. As he entered the pastor’s office, he said, “Do you have another name?”
Why are their so many disgruntled, unhappy, chronic complaining Baptist? Because they sit around and think about themselves and their problems and they never lift a finger to help anyone else. MINISTRY will REVIVE the church and REACH the community.
I don’t check numbers and do not respond or even look at messages. It is not that I don’t have time but I just don’t get a thrill or boast out of negative comments and there are some critics who read the blog. I would guess we have between 70-100 readers which is not many but enough to encourage me to write. I just want you to know that I appreciate every one of you. Anthony gave me some encouragement last night and it came at a good time. The blogs are intended to help you in your devotional life and from time to time, I do political rants. I do hope you have a great Sunday. I am excited about today’s message and DRIVE-IN CHURCH.