Ministry is my life or life is my ministry

This is just semantics right?  Basically the same thing?  A simple change in word order can dramatically alter the way we look at ministry among the poor.  In this culture of a “bottom line”, based on either success or failure, when ministry outreach doesn’t “work out” we begin to look at ourselves as failures, we get burnt out, ready to quit. We go when we should stop, we work when we should rest, eventually we have nothing left to offer others and begin to resent the people we are called to love and serve, and they see our lives not as something to copy, but as something to reject, with the chaotic rhythms and inconsistencies.

On the other hand, when we look at our life as ministry we begin to do everything for His glory and His honor.  Life becomes our ministry.  Our resting, our eating, sleeping, playing, and yes even our menial hobbies and pastimes becomes a way for us to connect to our God as well as to others.  As guest writer in Sub-merge Darren Prince writes:

When all of your life is what you offer as your ministry, then nothing is wasted.  In short, when your life is what you offer to others as ministry, what you offer is multifaceted and rich with meaning.

This is a wonderful picture of what incarnational (living among) minstry can be and should be.  Serenity and I are both realizing that this is what the Lord is calling us towards – ministry among the poor, not ministry to the poor.  We understand that we are not currently doing this – we stay in urban church parking lots for a few weeks and then move on, we are not part of the community, rather, the Lord is using this time in our lives to teach and to transform our own hearts to be closer to His.  We are learning to love the poor not as our ministry, but as a part of our lives.

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2 Responses

  1. Very thoughtful observations. We are prayerfully looking forward to what ministry among the poor will mean, “fleshed out” for y’all.
    We love you,
    Phil/Dad/Papa

  2. Thrilled to have met you all this weekend. What a wonderful, beautiful, kind family you have. Thank you for this post. It really hit me in a profound way. Even thought I AM living in the community among the poor I sometimes feel as if I put myself in a bubble — isolated from the ones I am here to serve and serve alongside. I do want my life to be a ministry. God bless you guys! We’ll be praying for you!

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