For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Over the past 4 weeks, we have covered the theme "What's Your Story?"
Your story...or every experience you've ever had, good and bad...is your ministry.
Sometimes the word "ministry" feels very heavy and intimidating. We infer that we must memorize whole books of the Bible and attend seminary. We feel inadequate and unprepared to hold a ministry or to minister to others.
Those things simply aren't true.
Jesus came to earth a simple man. He was born in a manger, raised the son of a carpenter, scolded by His parents when they lost Him during a family trip, ran with an eclectic band of misfits, was essentially homeless as He traveled all over the countryside, was despised, arrested, beaten and tortured, and finally nailed to a cross.
The men He collected to Disciple were from a range of backgrounds: fishermen, a tax-collecter, a doctor, and a Revolutionary to name a few. Not all were educated. Not all were eloquent. Not all were refined. In fact, most were none of those things.
They struggled. They stumbled. They fell. Yet, Christ used them. He mentored them and taught them how to reach others just by being who they were.
They learned by example and by living the life of the Messiah. Jesus met them right where they were.
And Jesus will meet you right where you are too. He is willing and able. You don't have to be anything other than who you are and open to following His call. It's so simple, although it's not always easy.
While only some have the calling on their lives to be ministers, preachers, and teachers, all are called to reach out to others and show the love of God.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Even though Jesus spoke these words in the presence of 11 men so many years ago, when he gave the Great Commission, it applied to all of us even today.
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15)
Giving an account for the hope that we have is as simple as telling our story and of how God is at the center of it. It's about talking about the grace and mercy offered to us by Christ and that we can know we can never be perfect enough to be in the Father's presence, but through the sacrifice Jesus made for us, we have the hope of eternal life. What's not always easy? Having the courage to share the details of our lives. That takes bravery and that bravery is given to us by the Holy Spirit.
We can rest in the knowledge that God will not bring us to a person or a situation without equipping us with the tools, the words, and even the courage to follow through.
"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:20-21).
You don't need to be a speaker, a writer, an author, a blogger, a pastor, a Bible Study Leader, or a Bible scholar to share your story. You need only be willing to allow God to use you.
Over the next three days, Ginny, Mia, Mandy, and Lindsey of Deliberate Women will be sharing their stories. We hope to invite you into our lives and show you the hand of God that has led us through some very difficult and amazingly wonderful times. We hope to encourage you to recognize and share your own story. It may be difficult the first few times you share, but as you trust the Lord to work in and through you, your confidence will grow.
Up tomorrow: Ginny Hannan.
Focus on this today: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).