FIRST-PERSON: Ministry moments

by Chuck Lawless, posted Monday, March 19, 2018 (6 months ago)

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- Everyone in ministry needs these moments. When the work gets tough, we need reminders of why we do what we do.

Here are some "glimpses" that have helped me press on in faith through the years:

-- Seeing the look of absolute joy on a new believer who has just been baptized. You can't explain it; you just have to see it.

-- Telling Bible stories to children who hang on every word. Only God knows how He will use that Word to change their lives.

-- Praying with someone seeking God in faith and repentance. I've guided folks who have had no idea how to pray, and I've also listened as others launched into their own prayers. Either way, it's glorious.

-- Renewing vows for a reunited couple. In this case, saying "I do" again is a witness to the power of God's love and a testimony against the wiles of the devil.

-- Telling the story of Jesus to people who've never heard it. Sometimes, watching them pay attention takes you back to when the Gospel story first fascinated you as well.

-- Experiencing or hearing answers to prayer that can't be explained apart from "God did that." When His power is most evident, you realize again that He is the living God.

-- Celebrating the passing of a saint. This one may sound morbid, but it's not at all. Standing beside the bedside or casket of a departed believer has brought some of my strongest ministry memories. I'm reminded then that what we do has eternal ramifications.

-- Singing with missionaries in their mother tongue. There's nothing quite like it. Joining with faithful believers to sing God's praise in their own language -- especially after they've been struggling to learn another one -- is captivating.

-- Listening to a young preacher fumble his way through his first sermon. We've usually been there ourselves, so we understand the struggle. Raw, yet unpolished commitment in the hand of God, though, is inspiring.

-- Serving the Lord's Supper. This ordinance takes us to the cross in preparation for His return -- and we get to lead others to share in the act. It's a holy moment.

We often get so consumed by doing the hard work of ministry that we inadvertently overlook the blessings of doing God's work. Difficulties and struggles cloud our vision, and we miss the glimpses that can keep us going. Spend some time today remembering glimpses of the past in your ministry, and then watch for new ones throughout the day.

Chuck Lawless, online at chucklawless.com, is vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers and professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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