I walked into our first church and froze. Fifty sets of eyes turned my way, silently sending fifty personalized needs & expectations in the direction of the new pastor’s wife. I clutched my children close, drew a deep breath and jumped into the deep end of life in ministry. The next four years were a blur as I tried desperately to meet all of those needs and fulfill each expectation. It was not pretty. Then when God moved us to a new, slightly larger church I was filled with trepidation: so many people, so many needs.
LORD, I cannot do this again… please show me how to make a difference without losing myself and my family in this ministry…
Scripture says that all of creation tells of God’s love and power. And God used a bit of His creation to teach me a great truth about life in ministry. I came across a little farm house in the middle of a giant field of daffodils. I grew up calling these lovely little flowers buttercups, and I remember helping my mama plant them in our flower beds at home. They aren’t grown from seeds that you scatter; they’re grown from bulbs that must be planted individually. The little farm house God led me to appeared to be surrounded by THOUSANDS of yellow flowers raising their heads to the sun. What an overwhelming task it must have been to plant all those bulbs! When asked how she managed to fill her yard with that many daffodils, the farmer’s wife replied, “Oh, Honey, it wasn’t all that hard. I simply planted those bulbs one at a time.”
Thank You, LORD, for such a beautiful picture of life in ministry.
Now when I step into my church building I am no longer overwhelmed by the burden of all the needs and expectations: shaking every hand, speaking to every person, answering every question. Rather, I ask God to lead me to the one person who needs my touch, my listening ear, my prayers, my smile that day: the elderly man living alone who just wants someone to talk to, the little child who rides the van to Sunday School that desperately wants a lap to snuggle into, or the seemingly aloof teenager who is hoping that someone will notice her new hairstyle and, in doing so, prove that she’s not invisible.
Jesus spoke to the masses, but He touched individuals. I am called to lead a ministry, but more specifically, I’m called to minister to people: one at a time.
What overwhelms you about ministry? Ask God to open your eyes to the individuals He has called you to lead. How are you going to minister to them today, one at a time?