Friday, May 29, 2009

This Life

Life is such a precious gift from God but all too often we spend so much of our lives just trying to get by. Jesus said in John 10:10 that "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly." What does an abundant life look like? It is too easy to boil it down to material possessions but the sad reality is that the pursuit of stuff won't bring the abundant life. Don't misunderstand me -- having material wealth is not in and of itself a bad thing -- we just have to own our stuff and not let our stuff own us. God uses faithful people who are wealthy to finance a whole lot of ministry. Jesus asked the wealthy ruler in Luke 18 to sell all he had and give it to the poor but, as far as we know, never asked Lazarus or Joseph of Arimathaea to do the same thing.

So what does an abundant life look like? Maybe it's not so much in what you have but what you do. Obviously the place to start is to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Since Jesus came for us to have an abundant life the absolute first plac eof abundance is in our walk with God. We are called to an abundant fellowship with Him! Nothing else can ever supplant what is really the key principle of the the life in Christ. Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, prayed "this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3).

I have a friend who likes to say "nothing satisfies like ministry." We have made the term ministry out to be a really spiritual or religious word when in fact it is a very practical word. The Greek word diakonia, where our word deacon comes from, simply means service or care. Ministry is about serving and caring for others. It is so much more than preaching a sermon or singing in church. It is so much bigger than that! Real ministry may be something as big as helping someone through a crisis in their life or as little as helping someone change a tire. It's sometimes messy and sometimes inconvenient. Ministry opportunities don't always pop up when we have free time and are looking for something to do. They sometimes involve some sacrifice.

But there truly is nothing like it. Jesus said "I am among you as one who serves" (Luke 2:27). Serve here is the same Greek word Diakonia but with a different tense. It could just as well be translated I am among you as one who ministers." 1st John 4:17 tells us that "as He is, so are we in this world."

Ministry doesn't just come by happenstance. Don't wait on a church program to create a ministry opportunity for you. We run into them every day but aren't always paying attention. Be bold. Dare to ask the Lord, "What can I do today?" They don't always have to be a big deal. It may be something you do for your spouse or your parents. It may involve helping a friend or a stranger.

It's better to make life happen than to let it pass you by!