Saturday, April 16, 2016

Two Hindrances to Serving

The last two days I've shared some of what I have learned about sharing in a prison Bible study.

Should everyone serve in prison ministry? 

Of course not. There are plenty of other ways to serve God and others besides prison. But each of us should minister to people in some way. Reaching out to others with the love of God is not optional for the believer.

I think there are two common hindrances to our ministry.

Or maybe I should say that I personally have found two roadblocks that keep me from serving others.

1. Fear

It is scary to reach out and become vulnerable to rejection or misunderstanding. But fear is never a good motive for decision making. Choosing to reject ministry because of fear is limiting the power of God. 

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

With experience it may become easier to share God's Word but some of our fear may remain. Sometimes we may find it easier to share Christ in prison to strangers, than to share truth to our neighbors with whom we will have continued interaction. I don't have this all figured out because I still make far too many decisions based on fear but my frequent prayer is that the the women at my church will be so full of love for God and His Word that we can't help spilling truth into the lives of others.

2. Busyness

Often I think I am too busy for ministry. 

It is true that we only have 24 hours in each day. If I am not careful, the daily routines of life will swallow up all these hours. 

There may be seasons of life when any ministry outside the home is impossible. After the birth of of a new baby (like now) I need to step out of prison ministry several months. A mother of an infant may hardly find time to shower. A mom with several preschoolers has all the ministry she can handle within her own four walls. But we need to be careful that those seasons of life don't become a lifelong excuse.

I've never met a woman between the ages of 16 and 65 that doesn't claim to be busy. Time for ministry will need to be sought, prioritized, and fought for. 

Do I really need another new dress, or could I spend that time preparing a Bible study? Can I fix a simpler supper and use the extra minutes to write a letter of encouragement to a missionary? Must I attend another yard sale, or could I visit an elderly neighbor instead? Which will matter in eternity—a Tupperware party or an evening encouraging a struggling teen? What about limiting my time on Pinterest so that I can make a meal for a new neighbor?

We all have time for what is important to us. Of course, the needs of our family must come first. But our children also need to learn to reach out to others—and they will learn best through our example. Our husbands can help us sort out our priorities, find a proper balance, and utilize our time in the best way.


Today we have open doors in places such as our detention centers to share the gospel. Someday we may not have this freedom. What am I willing to sacrifice to show God's love to the “least of these”? 

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

What do you find as the greatest hindrance to ministry? How do you make time in the busyness of life to reach out to others? 

7 comments :

  1. I love what you said in your second point on busyness! As a mother in the crazy season, I find myself saying "no" to many outside opportunities, and feeling a mixture of relief and guilt as I do so.

    I have dealt with some fear that I will become a "no" kind of woman, even after this stage has passed. I enjoyed your thoughts and encouragement, spurring us on to love and good works. Thank you.

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    1. I'm glad you have the courage to say "no". And hope you don't feel at all guilty about it. I was a little worried about sharing this because I didn't want to make someone feel guilty when they are already serving in important ways - like changing diapers.

      Ten years from now - I hope you are nearby to push me to keep serving in whatever stage of life I'm in.
      Gina

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    2. I just now saw your reply, and it makes me smile. No, I didn't feel too guilty. I felt understood, accepted, and motivated.

      To the next ten years... ! :)

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  2. I am so thankful I stopped in to read your blog this morning. I've been wondering where I fit in ministry since my husband and I had our first child almost two years ago now (and I'm back teaching full-time now). We were often involved in ministry together, but it's difficult to both help with youth group at our church when it is in the evening and our daughter needs to go to bed, so I usually stay home with her. I was very encouraged by the examples of "small" ministries you mentioned - letters of encouragement, visiting others, or making a meal for someone. I love doing those things, and perhaps now is the time in my life to start making a conscious effort to do more of them.
    Thank you for that encouraging reminder.

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    Replies
    1. Kara -
      So glad that you can be enthused about serving from your home! There are so many ways that a mom can bless others.
      Blessings,
      Gina

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  3. How about a baby update post? I would love to hear how she is doing for you and see some pics. I'm sure you won't mind posting some! :)

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  4. We hold weekly fellowship meals at our home so that people can come and relax and share their lives. Too many people are too busy and even at church we put on a "happy" face and act like we're fine when in reality we are not but there isn't time for ministering then.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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