“Love on” — demystifying ministry

Matthew 9

What do Three’s Company and church’s portrayal of ministry have in common? Miscommunication.

Props to this guy for the idea.

People think “the ministry” is this huge undertaking, a calling that should be venerated and engraved on a gold plaque written with the very finger of God. We’re supposed to preach and be really sharp with the Bible, and maybe heal some people and feed some kids in Africa.

Jesus, by this definition, was in “the ministry.” And He must have been really good at it, because if you’re a true follower, you start getting scrutinized (we call it persecution, no matter how petty the accusations are), and He definitely made some people upset.  Hardcore.

I went to jury duty a few weeks ago and was let off the hook because of financial hardship. People kind of do the same thing with “the ministry” because they think it’s too much of a commitment.

But we’re all in it.  I’m in it every day. My wife and my baby daughter come to mind.  We’re all called to be in “the ministry”, but not in the way you think about it.  We don’t have to heal. We don’t have to hop on the next mission trip to Sudan. We’re simply supposed to pay attention to peoples’ needs and to love them.

Jesus also did this.  In addition to healing people, He experienced some things that we all should consider when it comes to ministry:

1) Interruptions happen. (v. 18-22) Jesus is busy teaching, and a rich ruler shows up and asks for his daughter to be revived.  While Jesus is addressing this person’s needs, a woman reaches out to be healed as well. He was aware of His surroundings. Sometimes people just need you to pay attention. Stop playing with your phone, reschedule the fishing day. When you make yourself available, those “interruptions” start happening more often.

2) Don’t do it for show. (v. 23-26) Before reviving(!) a dead girl, Jesus told everyone to leave, even with His mockers present. He didn’t heal the girl to prove everyone wrong or make a point. The idea is ministry. Don’t sign up for delivering meals to someone in your church just because you feel guilty. The secret ingredient to your dishes needs to be love.

3) Keep your head in check. (v. 34) The religious leaders started getting put off by all the tricks Jesus pulled, so they called him the “ruler of demons.” But He didn’t get all huffy. He averted the issue until a more opportune time (12:25-28). Humans are kind of a reactionary species, but Jesus avoided getting into a debate when needs were being met. People don’t always need a lecture on the downfalls of alcoholism.

4) Crowds are not obnoxious. (v. 36-38)  Well, they are, kind of.  Especially during concerts. I might be somewhat agoraphobic, or maybe just a megaintrovert, but I don’t know how Jesus had “compassion” on the crowds like that. He saw a need, not an annoyance. They weren’t “sheeple” to Him. Plenty of people need help – whether it’s some money for a surgery, or just an hour over coffee to talk to someone that’s listening.

“Ministry” is just helping people.  It’s practical. Stop churching up the word and let’s start doing it.

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