Friday, March 26, 2021

The Ministry Of Inconvenience

 Then Jesus answered and said: ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?’37 And he said, ‘He who showed mercy on him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”— Luke 10:30-37

I had an epiphany the other day. You know, when you realize something that has been staring you in the face – but you didn’t see it – at least from the proper perspective.  Martie and I have been serving people who have faced hardships for one reason or another since about 2005. That service can be very demanding. Your life is not your own. Parsing out time for yourself can seem to be out of reach. Declaring that enough is enough is, well, it can feel very selfish and unspiritual.  It does not take long for you to come up with some very good reasons to just say “No”! I am not going to do it. That is too much. Too invasive on my space. What about me?!?!?!

The other day, during the course of my doing what I am doing in Texas, I was asked when it would be convenient for me to help someone. DING DING DING!!! I suddenly saw the essence of the parable of the Good Samaritan and the deep meaning of John 15:13.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13

What I heard – in my heart – which is where the Spirit speaks to me – was “you have been given the ministry of being inconvenienced”. Sound strange? I – Martie and I, are here to serve others. So often, out of concern for us, the people in need will ask when it will be convenient for me to help them. To which I now respond – “you tell me when you are available and I will make myself available.” I hope that does not seem merely noble to you – that is not my intent – but that it would sound Biblical. Being willing to go and do when it is not personally convenient is an act of mercy. The priest and the Levite were too busy to be bothered with what was right in front of them. The Samaritan was too compassionate to walk by. Serving others requires sacrifice.  Certainly it requires spiritual discernment – there are some who will take advantage of your kindness and mercy – there will be times when I don’t offer help – but only if my spirit is checked by The Spirit.  Laying you life down means considering someone else’s time to be more important than yours.    

Listen – the life we have been called to must be lived by the power of the Spirit and the instruction of the Word.  It is and will always be in conflict with our flesh – our old nature. There will always be those who say – “You have done enough”. It was enough that you stopped and bandaged the wounds of someone who doesn’t like you and would not give you the time of day. You don’t need to take them anywhere nor spend your money on someone you don’t even know.  You have to draw that line – no one will fault you for just going your way.  I mean look at the priest and Levite – if they didn’t think it was important to help a fellow Jew, don’t feel bad about limiting what you are going to do.  Except for one thing – it is not man that has saved us and called us. It is the Creator God through the sacrifice of His Son. 

Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25

How important is your time. What in this life is more important that serving others. Only one thing – serving God (Matthew 22:37-39). The one springs forth from the other.  We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Are you willing to be inconvenienced by others? If yes, then you better get ready!

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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