If you are just joining us, you can start back at the beginning of this series of posts here.
Ministry with Jesus sees and addresses the present need.
Our God is compassionate, and His Son does only what He sees the Father doing.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
– Mark 6:34 (ESV)
Whatever the plans of the day are, Jesus moves on the needs that come before Him. We see it over and over again. Jesus is moved to compassion by the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) and He stops mid-journey to raise her son from the dead. He is moved to compassion by the bleeding woman who grabs His robe and interrupts His journey to heal Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-34). He is moved by compassion for the paralytic who comes through the roof and interrupts His preaching (Mark 2:1-12). Oh yeah, and then there is the prostitute that interrupts His dinner (Luke 7:36-50). And, if I recall correctly, there was a man with a withered hand who also interrupted His teaching, on the SABBATH (Luke 6:6-11). Shall I go on?
When you minister with our Savior, you can’t have expectations of what it will look like, or where you are going. You simply serve WHOever comes across your path, WHEREver you are, WHENever you are.
I remember one time, our family was on our way home from a trip. We were grabbing food at the McDonald’s drive-thru, not because it was my first choice, but, because we were in a hurry. As we finished our order, a young woman, who was was clearly in need, asked us for money. We said we didn’t have any cash, which was wholly true. But, as she walked away, Holy Spirit cried out in my heart and said, “She is my beloved!” So I got right out of the car, my family still in the drive-thru line, still in a hurry to get home. I walked over to her and told her again that I didn’t have any cash, but that I WOULD buy her lunch. She looked grateful, and a little shocked, but followed me into the restaurant.
As we got to the front of the line, she said “What do you want me to order?” My heart fell to the floor as I realized how captive this poor girl was to others in every area of her life. I told her she could have whatever she wanted. The look on her face was beyond description. “Are you sure?” she said. At this point, it would have been easy to think “Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into?” That is what the world tells us to think, we must be guarded in how we offer help because everyone wants to take advantage of us. That is NOT what ministry with Jesus does.
Ministry with Jesus doesn’t operate in fear, but moves in compassion. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the Pharisees when He healed that withered hand on the Sabbath. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the whispers when He ministered to the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears. He wasn’t afraid when He healed someone that they might take advantage of Him and bring their 5000 friends next time for ministry, healing, and lunch. No, he operated in compassion, not fear.
So, I chose not to be afraid when I offered to let a perfect stranger, one some might be afraid to even acknowledge, order whatever she wanted from the McDonald’s menu. Do you know what she ordered?
A Big Mac and a milkshake.
That’s all. Just two things. Not even fries. And the tears of gratitude on her face as I handed them to her, the ridiculously tight hug that she gave me as I blessed her and prayed for her are burned in my memory forever.
A Big Mac and a milkshake. That’s all it took to stir up her world, and show her the abundant love of God. That, and the willingness to go off-plan for a few minutes, to see the need in front of me and respond, regardless of what I had planned.
Please know, this story is not about me. Even with Jesus, I don’t think, from His perspective, the stories were about Him. They are about His beloved. He didn’t come to earth for Himself. He came for the woman at Nain. He came for the woman with the issue of blood. He came for the paralytic man. He came for the prostitute and the man with the withered hand. He came for the woman at McDonald’s. This story is about her. This story is about how much He loves HER. This story is about His desire to provide for all HER needs and all HER desires. Compassion is not about us, it is about them.
A Big Mac and a milkshake. For her, it was abundance and blessing. Indescribable blessing. This story is about setting HER table with His goodness. I was just lucky enough to be there when God chose to do it. All I had to do was agree with His plan instead of mine.
Compassion-colored glasses is the heart of ministry with Jesus. Do you have yours on? Ask the Lord to give you your pair. ( Just for fun, spend a minute letting Him show you what they look like– I bet they perfectly fit your style, He is so personal like that!) Ask Him to show you what you have been walking past that He needs you to pay attention to.
Just so you know, I don’t always get it right. Even as I have written this post, I have spent a lot of time thinking about that woman. I think about how I don’t even know her name. I think about how much more I wish I had done. I think about all the times I did operate in fear instead of compassion. Then, I thank God that He knows me so well, walks with me every day, and loves me at every stage of my journey. I thank Him for continually giving me new grace, new mercy, and new opportunity to step deeper into His ways. So, today I pray this with you wherever you are on your journey…
Father, I thank You that the fears of this world pale in comparison to Your compassion. Because I have so often been a recipient of that compassion, I choose to step out in it more and more each day. I love Your ways and I love Your children. Whoever the world says they are, I choose to come into agreement with who YOU say they are. I choose to be Your hands and Your feet WHEREver and WHENever You call me to. In Jesus’ name.