This week I have listened to a book on CD while driving to and from my job as a high school secretary. Philip Yancey tells thought-provoking stories of people in ministry in his book “Finding God in Unexpected Places.” He devotes one chapter to Louise, a woman who started her own Jericho Road ministry in the Atlanta slums. She simply looks for needs and responds to them, no matter how inconvenient or costly, using the Good Samaritan as her inspiration.
One night Louise got a call from a woman whose husband had beaten her again. Louise headed right over and helped the woman calm her screaming children, make supper, and clean the house for two hours. She was tired but peace-filled when she headed home. Around midnight three elderly women called Louise because they had no food. Louise, a senior citizen herself, went out to buy groceries and climbed three flights of stairs to their apartment. She prayed that the Lord would help her since she was so tired. She prepared a meal and the four women feasted together, praising God and singing hymns until almost morning.
I confess that I became somewhat discouraged by Louise’s example. Working full-time and raising a family is so time-consuming and seems to leave little room for service opportunities. When I worked from home, my flexible schedule allowed me to volunteer more often, and I miss those times of fellowship and service. I want to serve now—I just don’t know how I can add even one more thing to our schedule.
Then God helped me see, as I drove closer to the high school, that my outward ministry is now at work. My positive attitude can serve those teenagers. They need kindness, attention, and respect. They need godly examples. I can serve in that way. It’s not as dramatic as Louise’s work, but it is important in God’s eyes. In fact, I don’t think a person like Louise could do my job. Yancey described her haphazard methods and disorganized files. I must be highly efficient and organized and able to constantly multitask in a working environment which would conflict with Louise’s organic style. That thought pulled me out of the comparison trap and restored my faith in God’s calling on my life for this particular time.
Of course, my primary ministry is in my home as a wife and mother. I have often felt pressure to do more than “just” serve my husband and children. Yet I am happiest when I’m cooking and cleaning and spending time with them, making the home a haven for all of us. This is an unseen ministry to the world, but God sees it and calls me to serve well.
Where is your ministry?