From the Archives: Mission and Ministry in Front of Our Eyes
By Jeff Frymire
There are times when we need to stop looking at ourselves in the mirror and put up a window to the world and see what is really going on outside of ourselves.
When God called Moses into ministry, he didn’t send him across the sea. He sent him back to his own people and to the land of his birth. His ministry had been right in front of him. God gave him a tool to use that would ignite amazing and miraculous events. The tool was the stick right there in his own hand. After God turned it into a snake and back again, Moses realized that, with God on his side, he had all the resources he needed right there in front of him.
Isn’t it amazing how often the Scriptures remind us that mission and ministry are in our midst and not somewhere else? Jesus told parables using common, everyday images from the farm or the family to portray the reality of the great truths of God. As with the parable of the prodigal son, more often than not, Jesus let his hearers know that what they really needed had been right there in front of them all the time—right where they were. All they had to do was look.
Chaplain Tom Fuller was going about his duties, not looking for a mission or a ministry event. He was simply inspecting a pump house when the neighbor came over to tell him about a need. Thousands of dollars and months of ministry time were invested in a need that met him right where he was. Travis Taflinger and Casey Cline were expecting to go to a major metropolitan center to find the needs that confronted them right there in their own small hometown. Ministry and mission are right in front of us.
Bob Marvel had three goals when he started running. All three were about the idea of racing. None of them were about ministry. But ministry happens right in front of you. All the relationships, financial support, publicity for the church, and opportunities to witness to others—not to mention a dynamic bonding with his wife through the act of running marathons together—were never Bob’s goals in running a marathon. But ministry and mission are all around you. When you run the race, Jesus runs with you, and as long as you open your eyes and look out the window, God will allow you to see opportunities to minister in his name.
Ministry and mission have a contagious effect. Like the laws of motion, ministry and mission usually come to us while we are in motion doing what God calls us to do. Once our motion is affected by ministry and mission, it creates further energy that then propels us forward to higher heights and greater distances.
When Nehemiah came back to Jerusalem after the exile, he saw a city in disrepair. The walls of the city had breaches. Nehemiah organized families to mend the breaches in the walls. Well, if you mend the breaches, you have to fix the gates. And if you fix the gates, you might as well update the temple and retrain the people in what it means to be the people of God. Once you head down a path that God has opened, you may not know where that path may lead—that is up to God.
Change is one thing, fix one breach, explore one new way of doing ministry, and Jesus will take you on a voyage of discovery. You don’t have to go all over the world. The ministry and mission Jesus found were always right there in his hometown—right in front of him. And that is where we can find ministry and mission, too. Stop looking in the mirror at your own needs, and take a peek out the window. Mission and ministry are right there—right in front of your eyes.
With more than thirty years of pastoral experience in the Church of God, Jeff Frymire now also serves as associate professor of homiletics at Asbury Theological Seminary. Article originally published in the April-Mary 2006 issue of EXTRAvoice!, a supplemental resource of ONEvoice! Republished by permission.
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