Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ministering When It’s Inconvenient

Submitted by David Miller
Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

In Matthew 15:29, we find Jesus trying to rest on a mountainside. He barely sat down when a crowd of people came to Him looking to be healed. How did He respond? He healed them.  When Jesus received word that His cousin, John the Baptist, had been killed, He tried to grieve alone. But crowds of people followed Him and begged for His attention. Scripture tells us that instead of hiding in His grief, He had compassion and healed the sick in the crowd (Matthew 14:13–14).   On the night before Jesus was betrayed, He didn't hide out. He didn't run away. He spent the evening with His disciples. He even took the time to serve them by washing the mud from their feet (John 13:1–17).
If we look closely, we find an interesting pattern. We know that Jesus spent His time on earth serving others. But have you ever considered how often He ministered when it was inconvenient?  Let’s list some of the things He did when He served.
·      He served others when He was tired
·      He served others when He'd have rather been alone
·      He served others when He was sad
·      He served others when He'd been serving non-stop for days and days
·      He served others when things went terribly wrong in His own life
·      He even served others when He knew His own death was right around the corner
We, as Christians, should be deeply challenged by this truth. It is easy to serve others when it's convenient for us. We like to help out when it works into our schedule or fits into our agenda for the day. But there are lots of times when ministry is inconvenient. We’re tired. We’re stressed. We think we have more important things to do than to meet the needs of those around me. Under those circumstances, we feel justified in giving priority to our own needs and temporarily ignoring the needs of others.

But this isn't how Jesus lived. It isn't how Jesus served. And it isn't what He wants from you and me. The reality is, serving others requires sacrifice. If we only do it when it's convenient, we're missing the point. Sacrifice and service go hand in hand.  Sometimes we miss the sacrifice part.  The reality is that Jesus set the example for us to serve, even when we may not feel like it.  The benefit we have is finding the joy in that service.  Our sacrifice for service fits snugly in the nail scarred hand of Jesus.  

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