• Maria Whittaker

The Ministry of (Fill In the Blank)

Hi everyone! I'm setting a new goal for myself to try to post here at least once a week, which means a couple things: 1. I need to lower my standard for perfect grammar/composition because I simply don't have the time. 2. I need to stop trying to write as if these posts were chapters in my future best-selling Christian book (I tend to project my dreams of being an author on here and forget this is just a blog. 3. I need to keep my posts a little shorter to make them manageable for me to write and you to read.


That said, I'll still be doing longer posts (within my "Self-Love" series and hopefully future series but I want to have weekly little devotionals/thoughts/musings for ya'll to have some encouragement for the week. I tend to say "all or nothing" with stuff I do, but I'm learning that "something is better than nothing," ya feel me?


The quick thought I had for you today occurred to me during my prayer time this morning. I was asking God to bless my Instagram "ministry" because yes, I do consider @thesunflowerspirit to be a little ministry that I am trying to build online. Then I started asking God to bless all my ministries -- my ministry at church, my ministry among my friends, my ministry of wifehood, and the big scary one I'm starting soon -- my ministry of motherhood. The words were coming out of my heart but they were making my mind do a little double-take. Can I really refer to "wifehood" and "friendship" and "motherhood" as ministries? Everyone who knows me knows I've always wanted to do BIG things for God, like being a missionary and even a martyr (5-year-old me lol).


God has used these first few years of post-college adult life to teach me the vital lesson that it is the mundane, daily callings He has given me that are my ministry. So yes, I can call all those things my ministry, and it's a huge mistake on my part not to think of them that way. And I know I don't think of them that way because I wouldn't have been taken aback by my own prayer request. In fact, thinking of being Nate's wife as a ministry is really convicting to me because of the way I've treated him with impatience, criticism, and frustration the past week. How have I built him up as an integral part of God's kingdom through my actions? How have I upheld the ministry he is called to through my prayers?


These musings gave rise to a second thought. Ministry isn't a blog. It isn't an organization or a program. It most often isn't building something VISIBLE. I've met so many people that make this mistake. Some of the people I admire most in how ardently/passionately they have sought to serve God and build His kingdom through a particular ministry have missed this key point: the ministry is the people. I've seen Christians use "servant-hearted Christians" to accomplish ministry goals without ever considering that the actual servants in the ministry need to be ministered to. The lofty ministry goal of "helping the lost" was often so far removed from the actual people that these Christians were surrounded with. Remember, the people directly in front of you are equally important to the distant and idealized people you might think you're serving through a particular ministry.


This week is still fresh, and I challenge you to take this week to think about what ministries God has called you to. Are you fulfilling your calling by the power of God in you? Or, do you have to take a step back and wrap your mind around the fact that the everyday tasks you are called to are your ministry? Secondly, who has God placed directly in front of you? It's a worthwhile goal to raise money for world hunger and sex-trafficked children -- in fact, please, please do -- not enough people even care about that. But your first and foremost ministry is to the people directly in front of you -- your partner/children/friends/neighbors. Jesus illustrated that very clearly in Luke 10 when He answered the lawyer's question: Who is my neighbor? His story of the Good Samaritan left us in no doubt. My neighbor is the one directly in front of me. "Helping my neighbor" might mean washing dishes, taking out the garbage, or calling up a friend to check up on them. If we aren't intentional about these things, our selfishness creeps up and we think only of ourselves. And our lives slip away and we won't be very comfortable in God's presence when we try to explain how carelessly we treated the ministries He entrusted us with.


I hope this serves as an encouragement. Your roles are vital and God creates no spare pieces. That's why I am so passionate about encouraging each and every one of you to reject the world's call for self-pursuit and instead step into what God has called you to do! Let's each faithfully do whatever we were called to do, so that, sooner than we think, we can hear the soul-satisfying words "Well done, my good and faithful servant."


Psalm 131

A song of ascents. Of David.

1 My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.


CARPE DIEM!


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