Encouragement from my own life experiences with mental illness, among other things. I hope to remind you that we are all precious to God, that none of us is ever forgotten or forsaken, and that truly all things in our lives are "worked together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes." (Rom. 8:28) I also hope to remind folks that God can and wants to be your Friend. And He does, indeed, still speak to His children.
I began praying today without pencil and paper.. Nothing between God and myself... I was laying myself down, including the cares I was carrying for others, and thanking God for not being some far away and unconcerned deity... Not ever being unavailable, but always wanting to hear from me even though He already knows every thought.. As I was praying I came to thank Him for two lessons He has taught me that i know are invaluable as part of this building me up for ministry. I asked He help me never forget...
"Lord, help me always remember that I don't know everything, and it's not my job to convict. Those are two of the greatest lessons You've ever taught me & they are critical in allowing me to act and function as a messenger of grace. Keep me humble before You as I serve that I may do so in all love and with a gracious spirit. You alone are holy and righteous above all & my righteousness only comes from You. Let me never forget..."
I share this part of my prayer just to point out that as Christians, we are all called to minister to others. Wherever we are planted, that is our ministry field. But it is crucial we serve with a humble heart. Knowing our own righteousness only comes from God & without Him we are nothing but flaws. And keeping keenly aware that we do not know everything - not all of God's will, not the fullness of all that is going on and what has transpired in the life of the person to whom we're witnessing... We must be ever mindful our understanding is limited because we cannot see the whole picture.
It's also needful to recognize our job is to share the truth in compassion and love. Not to convict or convince. We are called to be seed planters. Seed tenders. We are not called to force the fruit to bear. It is the Spirit's work to convict the heart. It's is God who does the working within the soul of another to bring the truth to full fruition. We impart - He nurtures and grows. We share - He sees it through.
It's important to remember these things as we serve so we don't fall into the traps of critical condemnation and judgment. So we are not pushing others away from God as we try to show them Jesus. It's also important so we do not grow ever more weary in frustration and disappointment, losing heart and giving up in our doing good for His sake.
We must accept and even embrace that we do not always get to see the results of our seed planting. But determine to be faithful and trust that as we do our part, God will do His. It is not helpful to us or to the people we are trying to minister to when we try to take on a bigger role than we ought. Only God is God. We are His messengers.
Be diligent. Stay faithful in your planting. Your Father sees all. Remember even if you do not get to see the end result here on earth, you are doing your part and your treasures are being laid up in heaven.