He introduced the staff of their ministry like this, "They are Christ-centered leaders who would pay to do their ministries because their passion and resolve to do it is so deep in their hearts."
The fact was that The Nehemiah Foundation, raised money to support these para-church ministries that were caring for widows and orphans and doing other effective forms of practical benevolent outreach to show the love of Christ. The workers did what they did not for money, fame, prestige, or any other lesser God, but for God in the name of Jesus. Why? It was/is what they have been designed and prepared to do. It is their calling; the way they demonstrate the attributes of the Living God and Loving Savior. They love others because they are loved, and their greatest reward is not thanks from those they serve, or appreciation of those who witness their service, but whispers from their Master that He is pleased with them, and that they are doing well.
I didn't get Wally's statement when I first heard it, "These leaders would pay to do what they do." But, I get it now. Do you? They aren't working for a living, but working for God, and trusting Him to provide for them. Such service is as pure as it was for Jesus' first followers: Mark 6:8,9 - These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic."
Why did Jesus so instruct His disciples, and how might it apply to us?
My opinion is that the magnitude of the mission for which He commissioned them required great faith. He instructed and empowered them to cast out evil spirits and to heal diseases, AND He commanded them to go into all the world to make disciples. On a daily basis their faith would be tested as they faced the 'impossible'. And on a daily basis He made sure that they would be exercising their faith muscles for daily provisions of a place to stay, food to eat, and even clothing.
How to ministries develop? Do they begin, and are they sustained by a good business plan that counts and covers all the costs, or are they birthed out of the resolve of Christ-followers that are compelled to do something specific because it is what they are called to do, no matter what?
My opinion is that religious programs are built, disseminated, and sustained by a solid base of funding, but that ministries which are birthed and sustained by the resolve and faith of those that would pay (and do pay) to do what they do better embody and reflect the heart of Jesus and his first followers.
The passage that got me thinking about this today was Mark 10:29-31. Perhaps it was these words of Jesus that inspired the hymn, "I Surrender All"
Jesus said, "Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They'll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first."
It is often said that the way of the Cross is a path marked by suffering. Did you catch in the verses above that not just blessings, but troubles would be multiplied? GREAT! sigh....well, at least He warned us.
So let's get this straight...suffering, sacrifice, faith for provisions, and a commission to do the miraculous in His name and by His power. Hmmm...this sounds...wonderful, scary, painful, marvelous.
We can be unclear about what we have been called to do or we can know and not be willing to pay the price? Which one better describes you?
Yesterday I followed a thread of conversation on facebook of called ones commiserating about the anguish of the adventure, and encouraging each other to persist. That's the bottom line of why I am writing this to you. Persist dear brother and dear sister. Persist in the face of adversity, challenge and the unknown. Do what you have been prepared and appointed to do. Renew your resolve this morning to walk in faith, to trust for provisions, and to embody the grace, truth, hope and love that you have been shaped and prepared to share with the world; one person and one appointment at a time.
Doing the journey, one day at a time!
Reflections about a Dying? Pastor
4 years ago