Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ministry, What Ministry?

Yesterday's post on how we treat our families vs. how we treat a stranger has been taking residence in my thoughts. As I mull upon this situation with mother and son and stranger I am convicted at how many times I in my hurried state have done this, most times without even realizing what I had done. God forgive me.

And as I dwelt upon that post my thoughts started to turn to a struggle in my mind that I have hashed and rehashed continuously throughtout the last 20 some years. Really since I have been saved, but more so after I became a mom.

Painting by Marnie Souza

Let me give some background. This is sort of really hard for me because it means being open with things I've basically kept to myself for many moons.
I've always struggled with the term "ministry". When my husband and I were dating and then newly married, he was involved in the praise and
worship ministry of our home church. After hearing it preached somewhere, who knows where now, that husband and wife were called to the ministry together. I took that to mean we were called to the exact same thing. Well, not having the voice of an angel did not stop me in my quest to somehow get into the music ministry. Without going into great detail of my literally kicking doors open to acheive this, I finally came to the conclusion that that really was not where my "ministry" was. Okey dokey, it hurt, but heh, moving on. Then I got into women's ministry which was really fun and totally stretched me, made me grow and do things I'd never done before. But it was always in practical areas and well, I just wanted me a "spriritual" ministry.

Then I had children. Oh, the joy of these beautiful blessings in my life. But believing that I had a "ministry" somewhere in the church I continued on with my kids, husband, job and that "ministry". As the years went on and my job became very full time and my children became involved in things, the "ministry" began to fade as, I totally admit, I just could not do it all. I've lived with self-imposed guilt over this. What was wrong with me that I could not do what my "ministry" in the church was. Why oh, why did I have to have a fulltime job with my dayhome?
Over the years this question has at various times been on a back burner in my mind and then moved to the front burner, then back again.

Fast forward to today where my musings have brought me back to that question. "Lord, why can't I have a "spiritual" ministry, why do I have to work full time so that I can't have that?" is the repetitive cry. And then I just "happened" to come across this scripture in a fiction novel, of all things, that I am reading:

"Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezalel, the
son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. "I have filled him with the
Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of
craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in
bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood,
that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. "And behold, I Myself have
appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, and in
the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that
I have commanded you..." Exodus 31:1-6

That is when I saw it. Bezalel was an ordinary man with an ordinary job of working with metals, stone and wood. But where it gets extraordinary is God said that He called him. And the Lord did not just call Bezalel, but He equipped him. He took that man's ordinary job and filled him with His Spirit in wisdom, understanding, knowledge and craftsmanship. That turned Bezalel's ordinary job into a spiritual ministry because now it was being done for the Lord God. Hello, anyone else excited about this?

The mother at home with her children, the Lord has called you to that, filled you with His Spirit and therefore equipped you and if done for His glory you are doing a spiritual ministry. The overworked wife or husband who made that meal when all you wanted was to sit down, if done with love and for His glory, was your spiritual ministry. The young lady working in the grocery store God has equipped you and if you do it for His glory it is a spiritual ministry. The student in school, do it for His glory and it becomes extraordinary and it is a spiritual ministry. The young man who gave his piddly last $5 to someone in need, He called you to that and done for His glory it is a spiritual ministry out of the ordinary! The grandma who had a kind word for the surly bus driver, He called you by name and filled you with His Spirit for wisdom and understanding, that was a spiritual ministry! And the list goes on and on!

Does this not change the way you view what is your ordinary lot in life? Will this not change how I react to my children underfoot if I remember to look at it in this light? Will this not make me more excited about that boring job? Will this change how I overreact to something my hubby requested I do? And specifically for me will this change how I view my job as just a job robbing me of "ministry". Will this change my always looking at someone else's giftings and call at this particular time in my life and wanting what they have? Oh I so pray that it does. "Lord forgive me for looking at the grass on the other side of the fence and missing out on the extraordinary thing that you want to turn my ordinary place in life into. Help me to keep this in my remembrance that I would bring glory to You in my everyday and make it my "spiritual" ministry toYou!


Dianne said...

Good thoughts this morning, Susanne. Thanks for sharing. I'm trying to remember that right now, working is where I have to be, and you're right - this is my "spiritual ministry." (Although I still believe my husband is my first ministry, I know I'm where I am for a reason).

Dee said...

Right on!!!!! I have said time and again -- My calling in this season of my life is to be a wife and mommy. And that has been my main focus -- and my ministry many times comes in doing for others (my family), teaching (my children), and serving (cleaning, cooking...etc.).


Susanne said...

Dianne: totally. In priorities, God first, then family, then job. But if done for God's glory all those become "spiritual" not just those ministries that reside in the church building

Dee: We all go thru seasons in life. God knows we're moms and He knows what that entails.

Shalee said...

Beautiful, Susanne. I do believe that you have been inspired by the Holy Spirit himself.

And one thing to remember when you are looking at the greenness of the other pasture, you are not aware of how much manure was used to get it looking so green.

Susanne said...

Shalee: How true, how true! LOL! Where do you think of all this, girl?

Melissa said...


Are you sure I didn't write this post? Because, I'm thinking you looked into my heart a little too close for comfort!

I have also struggled with wanting to have a "ministry" and have searched high & low for what I wanted to do for God. Of course, it didn't really matter what HE wanted me to do for Him, because I had much bigger plans. I have often envied the Women of Faith Speakers, Beth Moore, etc., wanting that type of ministry. But, God knows it would only be to bring glory to ME, not HIM (even though I've tried to fool myself otherwise).

I could go on & on, but I don't want to hijack your blog. Maybe I'll write a post about it on my own.

Blessings, friend. And thanks for being so honest!

Islandsparrow said...

I always liked that verse in Exodus - God gives varying skills and talents and we use them for His glory in the places where He calls us. And that changes as our lives change. I'm entering the almost empty nest syndrome - changes all around :)

Barb said...

You know Susanne, ministering to teenagers is in itself something pretty special. The grass ALWAYS looks greener. But the thing about grass is, with a little maintenance, just a little, it's not going anywhere. When you've completed this phase of your life, jump over the fence and dive in.

You can be everything you're yearning to be -- just one step at a time. And you're right where you need to be today. There's really no higher calling, in my opinion, than ministering to children in such a way that they become fine young adults. God knows exactly what he's doing and he's using you well.

On a completely different note, I tagged you.

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

"bring glory to you in the everyday" - way to say it. When my kids were little, I was AT HOME. It was hard just to do laundry, deal with all the crud kids get, etc etc. I'm in a different season now and ministry outside my home is more doable, but thank you sweet Susanne for reminding women ministry is all around us, sometimes right there within our four walls, and sometimes outside of them where he's called us to go. Great post. xoox

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Oh, that was great, Susanne. I have also struggled with the word "ministry." I've seen moms burn out, and families lose their kids over "ministry." It is very sad, and it is senseless. I need to be ministering to my family, first, and I believe even when the kids leave, that husbands still get first place over outside stuff. It is not glamorous, but that's why ministry really means "serve."

Chappyswife said...

This is a beautiful beautiful post, Susanne. I have prayed for you to have peace and joy in your work. What an incredible ministry you have in running a dayhome. That takes someone very special, and the parents and children you support are incredibly blessed to have you. Your job is so very valuable. Thanks for helping me to see mine is, too. I do struggle with the same feelings as you.

Lauren said...

Beautiful post, Susanne. What an encouragement. I also loved Shalee's manure comment. :)

e-Mom said...

I'm a bit behind the others with my comment, but I wanted to say how much I agree with your post. I pray we all understand how uniquely gifted we are for His service, and how vital it is that we view everything we do as "ministry" for his kingdom.