Posted: 03 Mar 2012 04:42 PM PST
There was a time when I would have said, "The last person I would ever marry is a minister!" Apparently God had other plans. I would also have said, "The last thing I will ever be is a minister!" Over the years I have come to understand that all Christians are ministers. So I was mistaken on both counts—I am married to a minister, and I am often expected to be a minister to those who need me.
But, unlike my husband, the majority of us didn't go to seminary. Where do we find the ability to be "in ministry" to people? I frequently become involved in simple conversations that become anything but simple as people unexpectedly begin to share hurts and heartaches. They share parts of their lives that are fragile and sacred. And I want to do the right thing by everyone in those moments. Where do I find the ability?
The psalm you read begins with the statement, "O my God, in you I trust." I guess that's the answer to my question about where to find the tools to minister. We may not have a seminary degree, but we have a trustworthy God. I believe that God will give me what I need in order to minister to the people around me. When I pray, like it says in the psalm, "Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation," God answers by guiding me to do what needs to be done in a given situation.
A friend of mine at Marble Collegiate paid me a great compliment. She said, "You always know how to say what I need to hear." I appreciated her kindness, but she was wrong. Sometimes I have no idea what to say or how to say it. But then I pray, "Show me your ways, Lord, and lead me in your truth," and God sends what I need at that moment to be in ministry.
You know how that feels, right? Sometimes you aren't sure how to deal with someone who looks to you for help or guidance, but you are sure that you need to do something. And when you breathe a quick (maybe desperate) prayer, you find the power to do what needs to be done. We don't have to go it alone. If we ask and trust, God will give us the words and the wisdom to do listen with compassion and to speak with kindness. God will equip us in the moment to be in ministry to those who need a friend.
Page Brown, member of Marble Collegiate