A couple days ago, we got to preach and minister at my friend Sam Douthwaite’s church (http://www.gatewaynewcastle.org/). We were able to do the kind of ministry that everyone sees and appreciates. After that, we were at St. Lukes for a Christmas Carol service and were able to pray and encourage several people there as well. Sunday morning and evening at the church, this is what immediately comes to mind when we we think of ministry.
The very next day, we were able to do ministry of a different sort. Some may not call it ministry, but it is what Followers of Christ should be doing all the time. We set out with the intention of buying some Christmas presents at the local shopping center for my Sister and her Fiance. We will be visiting them this weekend and celebrating Christmas a little early. While we were here, we had two encounters that could have easily gone by us if we were too busy to take the time.
The first happened mainly because of me. As we were passing an Apple store, I wanted to go in and look at the new Ipad Air. This was an extremely silly thing for me to do, because I do not have the money, nor could ever justify it if I had the money, to buy one. I just thought I would look at it. Well, while we were in this shop, we ran across Steve who we had met at church two weeks ago. He works for Compassion International helping others to learn about how they can be a part of change in the lives of needy children. We were able to talk with Him a little more and meet his wife and almost 2 year old son. This was an encouragement to me and I believe was good for them as well. If we were busy or just attending the business at hand, we would have very quickly passed by and never taken the time to chat with these wonderful people and make that valuable connection with them.
A little later, as we struggled through the increasing crowd, we were stopped by a man named Carlton. He had a sleeping bag thrown around his shoulders and was obviously a homeless man. We could have easily passed him by like so many others, but we stopped and talked with him. We even got the opportunity to pray with him and just talk about the Lord. Even though we did not have the time and not really any money to give him, we were able to be an encouragement to him just by talking to him and giving him our time.
As the busy Christmas season is around us and we are attending parties and buying presents and fighting the madhouse of crowds just to get to wherever we are going, lets be conscious of where God is moving. Let us never be to busy to join Him in His work. My encouragement to you, is to not be busy!!! Busyness means that what I am doing is more important that what you are doing and causes us to lose track of the One who is really important. One of my earliest and favorite memories of Christmas is my Dad singing “Jesus is the reason for the season, Jesus is Lord Emmanuel. He can’t get the glory without the story, Jesus is Lord Emmanuel.”
Always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. If we get so busy that we do not even take time to do what Jesus did and bless the people that need it most, with time, money, just talking to them, or something more, how can God ever get the glory? Let us put away the busyness of the season that says me and mine are more important than anything and lets put on Jesus who humbled Himself and became obedient, looking out for the wellbeing of others rather than Himself. We cannot be selfish with what we have if we truly recognize what Jesus gave up just so that we could live!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!