Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Secret of Ministry is Falling in Love with People

Georgian Banov, of Global Celebraton, bringing 5,000 Gypsies their favorite meal, fatted sheep stew. Georgian and his wife, Winnie, have fallen in love with the people.

Pondering 1 Thessalonians 2:6-17 in preparation for a Bible study group I teach, I was struck by just how much the apostle Paul loved the Jesus believers at Thessalonica — they were very much like family to him. See how he speaks of his and his ministry team’s relationship with them.
  • Like children. “We were like young children among you” (v. 7 NIV). “We became as infants in your midst” (LEB). Other versions, like the NKJV, say, “We were gentle among you.” Paul and his team tenderly identified with the new believers there, and were as gentle as children with them.
  • Like a mother. “Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you” (vv. 7-8 NIV).
  • Like a father. “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory” (vv. 11-12 NIV).
  • Like brothers. “For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea” (v. 14 NIV).
  • And in their absence, like orphans. “But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you” (v. 17 NIV).
All of this adds up to one of the key ingredients for a ministry that touches lives and changes the world. It is about falling in love with the people. For God Himself is love and He has fallen deeply in love with us. His desire is that we should not only love Him with all that is in us but that we should also love one another with all out love.