Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia saying, “Come over and help us.” So Paul, Timothy, and Luke went. They scrapped their planned evangelistic tour and just went because someone needed them to come over and help them.
I think of this man every time Stuart and I take off around the world again. The man of Macedonia still calls! Ahead there are meetings galore, airplanes to catch, and people to help, teach, and listen to. We will “weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh.” There will be much to learn about cultures, the church around the world, evangelism, mission, Jesus, and myself!
The main thing I am learning is just to go. When I get to wherever we have been invited to be, we are most times met with the same words. In many different languages we hear, “You came! You came! You didn’t send a book, or tapes, clothes, or medicine, not even money or Bibles – you came to us!” I have learned this is a ministry called a ministry of presence. There’s a real need and an invitation to go over and help someone. So, if it’s possible, you just go. And you know all of us can do this! You don’t have to do it abroad. The man of Macedonia may well live across the street. I’ve been practicing the ministry of presence for years. First in the United Kingdom and then in the United States. Just go.
Once I get there, I need to have a ministry of silence. Yes, I’ve gone to talk; that’s what they have invited me to do, but in between, before and after the sessions, over breakfast, lunch, tea, and supper, and sometimes far into the night, I will need to have a ministry of silence. And you know all of us can do this! We talkers, counselors, and teachers need to listen before we lecture, advise, or hand out our biblical anything! By listening, the one talking realizes we are interested in them. In fact, that is the way they will believe we love them. Then after having a ministry of listening they will be willing to listen to us!
I am also learning to have a ministry of tears. And do you know something, that’s not hard! How much sorrow and trouble there is in our hurting world. How could we not be reduced to tears? We would need to have a swinging brick inside of us instead of a heart. If we set ourselves to listen without lecturing, we will find wise and comforting words of instruction when it’s time to use them and our words will find a ready resting place.
It doesn’t mean there will be no teaching and training. I will be teaching “Ministry in the Life of Jesus,” Philippians, plus Ecclesiastes. I’ll tackle “How to Discern, Discover, and Do the Will of God,” “Women in the Life of Jesus,” and “How to Go Deeper with God,” and lots of other Scriptures too. But none of this will be as effective if I haven’t had a ministry of presence, silence, and tears first.
And so, friends, as you pray for God to allow these incredible opportunities of ministry presence and compassion to abound in your life, lean on the Holy Spirit to empower you with a heart full of His love so that you can truly listen, weep, and respond in His strength. Then those you are ministering to will be able to go out and do the same!
Just Between Us Magazine