According to www.dictionary.com Ministry is: a) the profession or duties of a minister of religion and b) the performance of these duties. Hmm... interesting. Does it mean then that as ministers we are required to do something?
You see, I say this because we live in an age where people are obsessed with titles and positions. We call ourselves ministers because we hold certain positions within our local church assembly, but are we really doing ministry?
When Christ walked on planet earth, he healed the sick, the blind, the broken and fed the hungry, both spirituality and physically. He didn't look down on sinners, nor did he cast them aside. He didn't regard the church officials as higher than the regular folk on the street. Rather, he spent more time working with these people, eating in their homes, allowing them to wash his feet and teaching them the errors of their ways in love; showing them that there was a better way to live.
So why then, did our ministry evolve to singing in church to church-folk who already know Jesus and treating others who don't or who are struggling as outcasts? Why do we create tiny cliques of other ministers as "sophisticated" as ourselves to associate with and ignore the plight of everyone else?
See, now I have to be careful with today's posts because I can certainly see a lot of my friends and associates getting mad at me for it because a lot of us fit into these descriptions. However, we must be aware of our mistakes as Christians and this is one of them.
Ministry means helping our fellow man. It means serving those entrusted to our care. It means understanding their plight. It means not being too "stoosh"* to reach down to them in their situations and lend a helping hand. It means leaving the comfort of our church pews sometimes and going next-door to the old lady's house and helping her get rid of the weeds that have over-run her yard. It means, befriending that girl who was just raped and walking her through her recovery process- it does not mean telling her that everything will be alright and then moving on.
Ministry does not mean an exquisitely cut suit with salon-perfect hair and nails and the perfect shoes. We are not called to "look the part" of ministry, we are called to live it. Let's stop being oblivious to the hurt of people around us. There are people in our everyday lives who are in desperate need of help but are afraid to ask us because they fear that we will look down on them. They are afraid that we will offer them only a few church cliches in our best "ministry voice" and then leave them to the wolves to fend for themselves.
Christians, fellow brothers and sisters, our Christianity must be tangible and identifiable. The people we are called to serve need to know that we are accessible and not judgmental or else they will never come to us for their help that they need. If that is the case, then our mission will never be accomplished and Christ's love will never be shown as it should. I'm sure we all agree that we are God's hands here on earth. He does things in the lives of people but it is through other people. If we are too distracted by our church services and our new "ministry suits" then we won't see those who are hurting and who need help.
Let us stop acting the part of ministry and let us learn to live it.
* Stoosh is a term used in the Caribbean to refer to those who are "fresh" or look down on others whom they don't consider to be part of their clique, clan or class.