Thursday, April 03, 2008

Luke #51 – The Ministry Jesus Did

I dedicate this devotion to my friends, The Hatfields; I think Rebecca is the only one that notices when I haven't blogged in a while! Plus, these folks don't play the "look at me" game; they love the Lord and live like it. And, one thing to Coach..."C'mon guys, RUN!"

Luke #51 – The Ministry Jesus Did

“And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears’” (Luke 4:17-21 – King James Version).

A young friend was telling me about his experiences working for a particular restaurant recently. He said that his first day on the job a coworker offered him some advice: “Whenever you run out of things to do, you’d better look busy or they’ll have you scrubbing rust spots.” He said he stuck to that advice for a little while, but soon the game was up; whenever he had nothing to do, he scrubbed rust spots. Not only is staying busy to deceive someone wrong, but it is boring and it accomplishes nothing.

The prophet Isaiah told us what kind of ministry Jesus would do during His earthly ministry. Jesus stood in His local synagogue that day and read that Scripture and then announced “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”. Not only in that moment did Jesus identify Himself to His neighbors as the Messiah, but He affirmed the content and substance of what His ministry would be. Jesus would preach, heal, and free people from sin and bondage.

Read the Gospels for yourself; you will find Jesus there ministering to all whom He encountered. No wasted words or time; no looking busy. When Jesus talked to an adulterous woman or with a Pharisee He always got right to the point; pointing out and confronting their greatest problems and offering to them Himself as the solution.

There are some huge lessons here for us as individuals and as the Church. We need to live lives that keep the main things the main things. Too many times we do things, place God’s name in amongst them, and call it serving God. Wherever Jesus went He left behind transformed lives. It was nitty-gritty ministry that affected people. He promised that we would do greater things than He did; Christ knew that His presence would be multiplied when the Holy Spirit came and filled hordes of believers.

The word the Lord has laid on my heart is a simple reminder to not just seem busy for the Lord. Don’t simply do programs and call it serving God. Don’t fall into that trap. Programs are fine, but don’t forget that programs are nothing if they are not encountering God, following His leading, and affecting lives. The ministry Jesus came to do and subsequently did was practical and effective. Christ kept His focus on the Father and the Father’s will. We need to do the same.

Let us not be weary in doing good things. Let’s not do things just to look the part. Let’s ask God for guidance and the filling of His Spirit and ask Him to use us to impact lives. Whether you keep a nursery, teach Sunday School, sit with elderly folks, go on visitation, cook for church socials, sing in the choir, or simply witness to coworkers and neighbors or work on a church staff…don’t do anything for the sake of appearances or to seem busy. Be effective; do practical ministry; serve God by impacting people. DO the ministry Jesus did; not just what He did, but the way He did it.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I notice when you haven't posted in a while... but I'm practicing patience. ;-) You know I need that!

Thank you for sharing this today. I know some people I'd like to share it with, but I also know how much I needed to see it myself.