“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7
This passage makes it very clear and confirms unto me that any real ministry and comfort only take place when our lives are subject to the same sufferings as those that we are attempting to serve must endure on a daily basis. In other words if we want to be effective ministers we must be submerged in the culture and pain that others live in continually. To be totally honest I think that most short term missions trips are pretty bogus. In fact our whole lives are supposed to be an ongoing missions trip. If you want to reach someone with the Gospel then you must live where they live, eat what they eat, work like they work, suffer what they suffer, and celebrate what they celebrate. The only real way to serve is from WITHIN a group of people, and NOT from above them. That is why the whole Clergy/Laity thing is bullshit. The most effective way to make disciples is eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, hip to hip and knee to knee, and NEVER from the top down.
True ministry involves a total devotion to those that we serve; starting with Jesus. When we serve like this we meet others needs out of the overflow of comfort and grace from our lives. We can extend grace and healing because we have experienced it first hand and not because we read it in any book, including the bible. We can minister salvation to others because we have lived it in the very same environment as those who we would have receive it. Sermons are nothing more than fancy words unless we live lives that back up those words to the utmost extent.
True fellowship and koinonia come from a shared life experience and not from any mission statement or plan. If we would only be real about our struggles and shortcomings HE would put on display our overcoming of such obstacles to the benefit all those we share life with each day. You want others to receive His grace and mercy? Then just receive them yourself and then tell others just what it is like to know Him and His power. The only way to make a difference in the lives of others is to allow Him to make such a difference in your life and then put you on display in their community. I realize my words have been forceful today, but I am passionate about these things.
Kirk Out !