I was blessed yesterday to sit with two friends who pour their lives into the lives of others. One of these women has ministered to me in countless ways in the course of 20+ years. We lingered at the table refilling our iced tea glasses long after the lunch dishes had been cleared. We had stopped to take time to share prayers and the concerns of our lives. Sitting there, I recounted the many women whose lives have been turned and blessed by one of women who has held important positions of leadership in our community.
Her talents are many. She is a great cook, a fabulous hostess. She understands how to lead. She teaches, prays and encourages. But it is in the area of discipleship that she excels. Without fanfare or trumpets blasting, she comes along side younger women in the Lord and she holds them up, sharing the strength God has given to her.
So often we want our ministries to be soaring rhetoric that touches the hearts of millions. We desire to be able to minister in music reaching out to the masses with our CD’s and iTunes downloads. We forget how deeply personal Christianity is. It is a ministry of touch and conversation. It is one heart overlapping another bleeding heart with concern and love bringing the healing touch of a holy Lord who truly cares.
In the past months, I been reading and rereading the Pauline letters. They are vividly personal love letters from Paul to his friends. It is only because the Holy Spirit preserved these letters that we can look into the heart of this great apostle. We forget that the book of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles were written by Luke to one man. The books of the New Testament written by Peter and John are letters, either to congregations or individuals.
Their intention was not to bless the world with a faceless voice or unknown stroke of a pen. They were writing to help strengthen friends. Man to man. Woman to woman. Today, we reach out over the lunch table grabbing a hand for prayer. We slow our pace at bit to be able to walk along side a hurting and wounded soul, allowing God’s strength to minister healing. Christianity is a deeply personal relationship with God. However, we cannot ever overlook that Christ left us as a Church–a fellowship of believers.
We all stumble through life with that deep abiding need for a father, a mother, a friend. People who come to Special Gathering usually leave changed. It isn’t the vibrant conversation or the deeply spiritual banter. It is Joey who comes without speech and takes our hand and shouts with his eyes and touch, “I love you. I take you as my friend.” It is Patty with her mindless chatter and suffocating hugs that whispers to our hearts, “You are accepted and loved here.”
As my friends and I stood by the door, wanting to share “one last thing,” I was struck by the deeply personal nature of God’s love. Jesus came to heal and minister, delight and correct. He is our personal saviour. Hallelujah!