Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wisdom from the Grey Fox

There are times here where I can get overwhelmed or frustrated by serving others. Sometimes, I 'grow weary of doing good.' There is so much than can be done in a place full of people with genuine needs and of course others with not so genuine needs. You have to sift through the requests and determine which people to help and which ones you have to say no to. But there is a never ending line of people who 'need' something. It can often significantly cut into the time I have set aside for work/ministry/chores, etc. Then I just get frustrated and just feel like an errand boy or servant, I am jealous of my own time. I was reminded today while getting water for a local elder about the words of a former mentor, the "Grey Fox" Dr. James Shields. He was my preaching professor back in University. A great man of God, he was a country preacher who was more concerned with your character than anything else. But he helped me to adjust my attitude about a lot of things and whenever I start complaining to myself about serving others I remember what he taught us. He said, "Ministry is NEVER convenient. Preaching, teaching sharing the gospel, etc. These are your responsibilities, but it is something you do, plan for and execute on a regular schedule. But true ministry happens when you are too busy to serve, when you would rather be doing something else but you stop to serve someone in whatever way the Lord gives you opportunity to do so. If it works within your is not ministry." [paraphrased]

I think this plays out as you look at Jesus life, because he always seemed to know how to handle people in need. He knew when to say no but he always seemed to minister, especially when it was inconvenient. I thank Jesus for this example and I thank Dr. Shields for teaching it to me.