There have been a few times over the years when first-time visitors to our church have informed me they have a particular ministry.
One couple informed me their first Sunday they had a teaching ministry. I thought, Well, let’s see if you come back next week. Then let’s see if you join the church. Then let’s see if you’d be happy setting up chairs. Then maybe later we’ll see if you have a teaching ministry.
What if you can’t do what you want to do? What if you’d like to sing on the worship team, but there aren’t any open positions? What if you’d like to be in ministry but have to work a secular job?
Should you slide into discouragement or bitterness? Give in to believing people are thwarting you? Resign yourself to being unhappy till you are able to serve in the way you want?
Here’s what you should do. Just start serving wherever you are.
Look around. There’s something you can do. Don’t worry about if you have a “call” to do it. Just serve. In his providence, God put you where you are for a reason. Consider Chuck Colson’s experience:
“On July 8, 1974, Chuck Colson went to prison. Only a couple years before he had been chief counsel on the Nixon White House staff he was nearing his 44th birthday when he went to prison for his involvement in Watergate. On January 31, 1975 he was released from prison after serving seven months. ‘When I arrived in prison, my caseworker told me, “Just settle in, accept it. This is where you live now. Don’t think about your home.” Reading Bonhoeffer convinced me to do just the opposite…. I drove myself to work as hard as I could. My entire day was consumed with writing, studying, doing my job in prison laundry, and exercising, and helping other inmates. I seldom allowed myself any recreation. More than anything else, I feared doing nothing.’”
“Today Colson is thankful for his seven months in prison. He knows God used those miserable days to prepare him for a great ministry. His time in prison made it possible for him to begin Prison Fellowship. Now he thanks God for the circumstances he faced that put him in prison. “I thank God for Watergate. Not only did prison radically transform my view of life, but the experience also gave me the one thing I thought I would never have again — an opportunity to serve others in significant ways. In my case that service has been in ministry to prisoners around the world.” — Chris Brauns, Unpacking Forgiveness
God may not exalt us like Chuck Colson but we can learn from his experience to serve where we are. When Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, he didn’t succumb to self-pity. He served his master. Even when thrown into prison unjustly, he busied himself looking to the interests of others.
Don’t think about what you don’t have or what you can’t do. Ask yourself, Who can I encourage? Who can I bless? Who can I invite to my place for a meal? Who can I offer to babysit for? God will exalt you if he wants to. But you can be fruitful no matter where you are.
photo by eddiejdf