16 September, 2005

I Love the Way the Lord Works

The Lord never ceases to amaze me. We tend to put God in a box pertaining to how he can work, when he can work and to whom he can work. But more and more I am learning that some of the most important "ministry" that is done is not behind the pulpit. In fact, it is not even in the church house. In recent months God has opened my eyes to let me see the "unintentional ministry" that takes place in the every day activities of life, if we will just be vessel that he can use. I want to share a couple of things that have happened recently to illustrate this. By no means do I mean this to elevate me, so I apologize in advance if it comes across that way.

Let me start with something that happened last night. I have been struggling with pain in my back and neck and extreme headaches for the past 2 weeks. A friend in another state sent an email to ask how I was yesterday, and I responded by telling her that I was still hurting, but was so much better than I had been the day before. I told her about how God was teaching me something through all of this about giving him praise even in the times of pain. She sent an email right back telling me how that when she read my email, she began to cry and she knew that the Lord was speaking directly to her through my email. It is funny because it was not meant that way… but God used the opportunity of my pain to minister to the needs of a woman several states away. Cool!

Another thing that happened this week that I just have to laugh about God and his timing, took place in the hospital ER. I went to see about an elderly woman who had just been taken in by ambulance. It was one of those “I have to go” times, because that day I was in so much pain that I could hardly stand it. When I got to the hospital, they were doing some x-rays and I had to wait. I found one of my members there talking with the sister to the patient. I stood and talked with them for about 30 minutes and then went in to see her. When I went in, I could see the loneliness in her eyes, and I simply leaned over gave her a kiss on the forehead and took her by the hand. Some time later I had to step out to make a couple of quick phone calls, and a nurse stopped me and asked if that was my mother. I smiled and told her that I was her pastor. She said, “Wow… I never would have guessed it!” I must have looked puzzled; because she explained herself by saying that she just happened to be looking in when I kissed this woman. She said, “Her face just beamed and her countenance changed after you came in. I thought surely you must be her son.” She went on to tell me that she didn’t go to church anymore, because she had lost faith in the ministry. She added that she always thought it was “a game” and the preachers really did not care. I tried to defend that… but she told me she had to leave. Later in the week, I received a phone call from that same woman. She was weeping and told me that she could not get the image out of her mind that she had witnessed that morning. Then she said to me, “For the first time in a long time, I saw Jesus in action and I know he is real, and I just want to thank you for helping me to believe again.” Wow… talk about a humbling experience.

There are so many things I could talk about, but suffice it to say that we would all do well to remember that the words from an old song are true, “You’re the only Jesus some will ever see.” It is often not the intentional things we do to win the lost that matter, but rather the un-intentional things that just happen as a result of walking in the spirit.


fidget said...

I'll still keep praying that you get better, though. I'm sure that when your lesson is complete, God will heal.

Sarah said...

I am constantly amazed how one moment can touch the lives of many in the same and different ways. In that instant you made a move that impacted both women in the hospital for days following the event. Both women needed to know someone cared. The one kissed, in her lonliness, needed to know that someone cared for her specifically. The one who viewed the kiss needed to know that there are preachers who genuinely care about their church body. Preachers who show love and kindness when there is no one viewing them. The one kissed recalled days later, "Did I tell you what Pastor did?" and the one who viewed made that call.

I am one who focuses at one thing at a time to the point of obliviousness. When I drive I don't notice people waving at me because my focus is on my destination. I am in awe when I am reminded that God can multi-task.