There is a LOT of very sad news today: Robin Williams committed suicide, ISIS is on the march in Iraq, Christians are under attack in many corners of the world, Ukraine is an explosion waiting to happen, and much more! It sounds simplistic to summarize that we live in a totally broken world, but it's the truth!
For all the issues, THE CHURCH of Jesus Christ (His invisible body) MUST be the first in line!
We must speak into hearts in desperate despair like Robin Williams'. He gave such joy to so many people, and yet his own heart was so dark that he couldn't take it anymore because the pain just screamed for relief.
We must give and pray and even go to be on the frontlines where we can to be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to people hated, displaced, and hunted for their faith! Franklin Graham of Samaritan's Purse is on the front lines in Iraq providing shelter tents for many of the refugees who fled with only their lives. I was so struck with the truckload of cradles just like this one I saw being unloaded in the tent city Samaritan's Purse is erecting in Erbil, Iraq. What a sweet touch!
Two families who are friends have just in the last few days returned to ministry in Ukraine. They have no idea what the future holds, but that's where God has planted their feet so there they stand to be salt and light in a very dark time for Ukraine. What the future holds only God knows for sure!
All that and more seems far away and only comes close on our computer screens. Then I read a quote like the one above from a pastor, no less, and my heart cracks more! How can we EVER measure ministry by risk alone? Of course, we need to be wise and prayerful, but LIFE itself is a risk from start to finish! If we ever hope to walk in the steps of Jesus and do ministry the way He did, we can't sit behind a desk or hide with our technology and talk about behavioral risks and IDD as an excuse for not living and loving as Jesus did!
It was pretty risky from a human view for Jesus to land on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee on a dark night. But, Jesus had a Divine appointment:
They went across the Sea of Galilee to the area of the Gerasenes. Jesus got out of the boat. A man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. The man lived in the tombs. No one could keep him tied up anymore. Not even a chain could hold him. His hands and feet had often been chained. But he tore the chains apart. And he broke the iron cuffs on his ankles. No one was strong enough to control him. Night and day he screamed among the tombs and in the hills. He cut himself with stones. - Mark 5:1-5
Jesus touched the leper.
Jesus made blind eyes see.
Jesus opened deaf ears.
Jesus raised the dead.
He didn't shrink with fear or disgust nor did he calculate risk.
He calls us to be like Him!
If we do ministry like He did, then it's messy and risky and has eternity in view! And, the same Spirit who was in and with Jesus walks with us in ministry even and especially when it's messy and risky!