Updated: Nov 29, 2021
This life is so hard at times for so many.
This afternoon, my wife shared information about two more people in the veterinary profession that had committed suicide. One of them left behind a wife and a six year old child. If you don't know about the high suicide rates in this profession, just Google it. It's rampant.
She also knows someone whose brother was violently attacked, is in a coma, and is not going to make it. The young gal has to fly out to go say goodbye to her brother.
Those were just a few stories on top of all the other things I am involved with on a daily basis.
When I left my management job at Target to pursue full-time ministry, I had no idea what I was really stepping into. Giving sermons is just one of many things that pastors do. That's just the part people see.
There's a whole world of pain that ministers are battling day in and day out. We spend the remainder of the time we have equipping believers to bring light to wherever God has put them. Why? Because God wanted every believer involved in some kind of ministry thru their vocation; the leaders in God’s family are there as a kind of player/coach. We live our lives as ministers to the world around us and help others do the same.
What are people dealing with?
Here's a few things...
Stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm, fear, abuse, divorce, abandonment, loneliness, bullying, poverty, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, confusion, hopelessness, violence, addictions, identity and purpose, body image, low self-esteem, insecurity, guilt, embarrassment, rejection, disrespect, broken trust, lack of motivation, competing priorities, unhealthy habits, homelessness, lack of community, dropping out of school, peer pressure, mental health issues, sexual trauma, obesity, defiant actions, gangs, scary world events, heartbreak, social media, moving, poor sleep, bad nutrition, appearance concerns, comparisons, negative influencers, eating disorders, hormones, gossip, sadness, pressure, lack of faith, politics, shame, codependency, bitterness, exploitation....and there's a lot more.
These words exist in the English language, because at some point we had to name the problem we were dealing with. What words come to your mind? What are you personally battling? Was it something in that list? Was it something else?
I am completely convinced that the hope we all need is ultimately found in Jesus Christ. God is the source of all hope.
So I have dedicated the rest of my life to leaning into these problems and bringing healing, life, restoration, love....hope.
The example Jesus set for us was to live our lives bringing healing to others, proclaiming Good News of forgiveness and reconciliation thru Christ, teaching people who put their trust in Jesus how to live this new life out, and about what’s to come. That’s the mission.
God’s Kingdom takes people from all nations and creates one big family; even people who were once enemies. And this family continually celebrates all the good things He has done, is doing today, and will do in the future.
When Christians are at our best, we’re the largest force for good that the world has ever seen. But when we forget who we are and what God has done for us personally, we fail miserably.
Sometimes, we become self-righteous with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, and rather than invite people who need healing and hope to meet Jesus, we say, write, or do things that make people want nothing to do with Jesus or His family, the Church. We reduce ministry to an academic pursuit of whose theology is best and who is wrong. We spend all our time reading books rather than being with people who need healing.
It would be like reading hundreds of books on how to build a deck and never actually building one - just criticizing all the other deck builders and dividing the deck building community. And somehow we think the Master Carpenter will reward us for it. (I don’t think He will.)
We see Paul address this in 1 Corinthians 13 when he wrote,
“If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”
And James explained that,
“Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
Accumulation of knowledge without application is meaningless. Paul taught us that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”.
These are just a few examples of what the apostles were trying to teach the Church. As believers, we need to become people who are more concerned with who feels loved than who feels right. Paul never says that knowledge is not important, but he does say that it is worthless without love. Love is the commandment. Love is the mission.
Some of us need to get off Facebook, get in our cars, and go down to the nearest homeless shelter to volunteer for a few hours. It’s easy to share a hateful and divisive meme. It’s hard to love people and listen to their stories and minister to their needs.
If we are going to bring Hope to the world around us who are hurting and hopeless, then we must lean into His love for us and all those who are made in His image. That’s the only way things change.
At West Sound YFC, we are leaning into the pain in young people's lives. You can be a part of bringing Hope to someone. To learn about all the different ways to get involved, please use the button below to learn more.
About the Author:
Adam serves as the Development Director here at West Sound YFC and is part of the Executive Leadership Team. He is responsible for Chapter Growth, Community Engagement, and Fundraising on behalf of the chapter.