NEWSFLASH: Being a "minister" can be draining.
Notice that I put the word minister in quotation marks. Those aren't sarcasm quotes... but what I like to call flexibility quotation marks. Before you completely check out, you should know that YOU are a minister too.
"Whoa, woman. Back the God truck up. I don't work in a church. I didn't go to seminary." That might be true, but I assure you that you have ministered to people-- maybe even today.
Yes, the word "minister" can be used as a noun to represent someone who specifically fulfills a role or office within a church. HOWEVER... it is also a verb...
Minister (verb): to give service, care, or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities: to contribute, as to comfort or happiness.
By defining it in this way, we can <hopefully> say that the majority of us are ministers. While I minister (verb) to people daily, I am also a minister (noun) within a church. (Specifically in the words of Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights, I am a "newborn, infant, baby Jesus" minister.) One thing that God has already shown my in my time of being a minister (noun) is that ALL of us can minister (verb) to ministers (noun.)
Confused yet? Ok good, my work here is done. Just kidding. Let's look at a "ministering a minister" experience of my own. A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to minister (verb) to another minister (noun) while shopping at the PX here on post. Her name was Gale and she was selling copies of her latest devotional. I stopped to chat with her for a few minutes. Our awesome and encouraging conversation ended with a hug, and a list of things to pray about for her. See? Ministering to the ministers!
Here's the bottom line: Our ability to minister isn't limited to status, title or experience. We all can have a heart of Jesus, which, if you look closely, was a heart of ministry aka giving service/comfort-- for ALL types of people. He ministered to people "above" him (think: Nicodemus, rulers etc) and "below" him (tax collectors, prostitutes etc)
The Purpose of Difficulty, I kind of got the vibe that it was shaping up to be a difficult day (but yet still used it as an opportunity to minister to others!) We all have rough days. It's just part of life. And God can use those difficulties for us to minister to one another.
So I sent her an email referencing a devotional from yesterday's staff meeting as a challenge to write 10 things we are thankful for each day. My list looked like this:
1. Running 3.5 miles w/6 hill sprints in it... and not throwing up
2. Pecan carmel candle burning in the kitchen
3. Finding the bottom of my sink after doing dishes
4. Gorgeous weather and sunshine!
5. Puppy dog cuddles and kisses
6. An amazing role model and boss in Kelli Williams Wommack!
7. A cabin named "San Souci" waiting in the mountains for my husband and I this wknd
8. Future opportunity to teach SHAPE-y things to youth
9. The Amazing Grace wind chime in our front yard
10. Chocolate-mint flavored water that I discovered yesterday
It was as simple as that! A reminder of God's love in the form of simple little list. I also pray for Kelli on a daily basis. She is a great friend and mentor. Kelli is incredibly talented. She has a BEAUTIFUL heart for Christ. And I personally feel beyond blessed that God allows me to occasionally minister to her heart with a pep talk, encouraging word, email or Starbucks coffee. Don't let The Enemy tell you that you aren't "good enough" or "experienced enough" or "knowledgeable enough" to minister to someone's heart. We are all human... and who couldn't use a little extra love every now and then?
Jesus was always on the look out for folks to minister to. Paul also asked continually for people to pray for his mission within the church. Shouldn't we follow their lead, ask for prayers and ministers to the hearts of our own ministers? Literally, let's thank God for the ministers in our own lives!
"I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints." Philemon 1:4-7
A Noun/Verb kinda gal,
"I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another." Romans 15:14