It is so easy for us to assume that when we think we are on the right track…and then get lost… we must be falling prey to the enemy. The enemy does, after all, enjoy distracting us. But if we belong to the Kingdom are we that easily led astray? If we are standing firm (emunah, faith, remember?) are we that easily tripped up? We shouldn’t be.
As I spoke to HaShem in prayer about what to write for an article….I kept getting interrupted. For weeks now, as I have attempted to quiet myself, one interruption after the other has taken me away from the task at hand. Something would spark inspiration… and as soon as I started to focus on it…it was lost. Something new would ignite… “Ah!” I would say to myself, “that’s it!”…and it, too, would flicker for a time and then be lost.
We become so absorbed with our time, don’t we? Especially when it comes to work we categorize as work for the Kingdom. We get so wrapped up with thinking we have to do more, or in thinking that doing more validates us in some way… that the slightest, unanticipated distraction drives us crazy. And it is then that we complain about not having enough time in the day.
Have we forgotten that it’s not OUR time? If I may be bold I would guess that when we are facing the Judgment, the question will not be “What did you do with your time,” but rather “What did you do with MY TIME? What did you do with THE TIME THAT I SET ASIDE FOR YOU?”
For anyone who thinks I am headed towards encouraging you to get involved with your church…or synagogue…or one of the countless ministries out there… as a way to justify your time on earth…that is NOT my intention at all. Quite the opposite, actually. Because the word diakonia, so often translated from the Greek into “ministry” actually means service, as in to serve others. So when Paul says in Romans 15:31 (KJV)…
That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted…
…he is using the same word that he used in Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
The same word is used in Luke’s story of Martha and her sister. When Martha finds herself stuck doing all of the work involved with receiving a guest into her home, her sister, Mary, sits at Yeshua’s feet listening to His words. Luke 10: 40-42:
But Martha was distracted by much serving and came to him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore that she should help me.
The idea of a ministry and the idea of serving are one in the same. A ‘minister’ or ‘pastor’ or ‘reverend’ are all just words for servant, which is the Greek word diakanos, as seen in the following two verses. (Notice how the translators are very biased in how they translate a word) Both verses are spoken by Yeshua…both verses are stressing the same point…both verses use the exact same word…
Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. Matthew 20:26
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11
My point is this: You do not have to “join a ministry” or “take up the cause of a ministry” or “start a ministry”….to be a servant. If you are walking with G-d, you already are a servant. You are a ‘minister’.
In my occupation I have employees who come and go. There are always new faces. I encountered one such ‘new face’ that truly humbled me. We work in the construction industry and because of this the office tends to get very dirty very quickly. When I walked into it the other day, I found a woman, Rose, that I had not yet met…cleaning it. And she was doing a great, thorough job to say the least.
Now I had assumed we had hired her to do this as we have done in the past with others. When I asked one of the staff members if that was the case, he said “no, she just offered to do it.” So I watched as she mopped the floors and scrubbed the restrooms and when she was done… she walked out the door.
I ran after her with my wallet open asking her if I could pay her for the great job she did. I knew she could use the money. And after several rejections she simply said to me: “Jesus Christ is all the pay I need.”
Those were her exact words to me. She didn’t know me. She didn’t know who I was, what I stood for or what I thought about anything! And she didn’t stick around to try and explain herself. After she spoke, she turned back around and walked away. And I just stood there holding money in my hand… watching her walk away.
If she is not a picture of a servant of G-d…I don’t know what else could be.
In retrospect I know that I ran after her because I thought that it was an opportunity for me to reflect G-d’s love by giving a woman in need some money. What I received was a lesson from G-d telling me not to think so much.
And as I reflect on the past several weeks…on the many different situations my Lord put in my path that continuously distracted me from what I thought was the most important, “godly” task at hand…getting this article finished… I realized something.
I realized that those very distractions allowed me to express the love, patience, hope and obedience that I am to have as a Believer… in true time and with tangible affects.
We are called to be servants. Not servants to an organization or ministry (though that type of service is definitely a blessing if you feel called to it) but servants to our fellow man. The moments that truly test our obedience are the moments when we are walking out in the world… away from the safety and comfort of a church or synagogue (or “godly” task). The moments when we have the choice to shine and reflect His light…or be just like the world.
You can think of that as you drive. Or think of that when someone asks you to do something you weren’t expecting. You can think of it when you are behind someone with 17 items in a “10 items or less” lane at the grocery store.
Or you can SPEAK of it when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you arise. (Part of the Sh’ma, Deut. 6:4-9, greatest commandment according to Yeshua…for anyone who didn’t notice). My new employee, Rose, exemplified that to me with the actions of cleaning an office and the simple words, “Jesus Christ is all the pay I need.” And even though, according to semantics, I’m the ‘employer’ and she is the ‘employee’… on that day she was the teacher and I was the student.
May the next frustrating, stressful, inconvenient and distracting moments you encounter… be a blessing! May you embrace them not as some sort of ‘devilish’ attack…but as an opportunity to serve your Creator in the here and now…in ways you didn’t even think about
Author: Jennifer Ross