Friday, August 17, 2012

Reunions and Rumination: Ministry Redefined

Last weekend I was thrilled to fly to Nashville for a reunion of my musical pals from Re'Generation: one of the most formative years of my life.  In the year spanning August '76 to '77, I was part of Re'Gen Seven and traveled all year to do 500 concerts in nearly every state with twelve other wonderful musicians.

Pastor Derric (far right) and Re'Gen 4-5
And last weekend we met in Nashville, in part to catch up with each other and all the other Re'Gen alumns, and in part to wish our founder and director, Derric Johnson, a blessed 80th birthday.  And as I listened to Pastor Derric encourage us to remember how God had blessed, but to keep dreaming and keep working for the Master, I left feeling inspired to go home and . . . do something!

And when I got home, I found a book waiting to be researched, puppy pictures to process, a husband, a daughter, and a precious grandbaby to love and support. I fell into my usual hectic routine, and today, while talking to the hubby, something struck me.

The conversation went like this:  Hubby mentioned someone else who was being taxed while helping out an adult child, and that friend said something about how the devil always seemed to find a way to distract us from the ministry we should be doing . . .

Then hubby said, "But I know in the sovereign plan of God, this is supposed to happen. God could have prevented it, but He didn't, so He has a plan for this."

And as he said those words, I mentally redefined ministry:  it's not what we do out in public, on a stage, or for publication.  Sometimes it's what we do within our own walls, in our own family, in our own hearts.  It is serving--and loving--those God has placed in our path because He meant them to be there so we would have an opportunity to love and serve no matter what the consequences. No matter if we see results or not. No matter what.

Because we love God, we love people.

That's ministry. It's not the kind that gets applause or recognition, and on some days you may wonder if you accomplished any good at all.  Sometimes your efforts result in a broken heart--your own.

But God values obedience more than sacrifice, more than anything we do on a platform or out in the world. Especially, I think, in the home, where the only people who see are the ones who see us at our best and at our worst.  When we obey in this most private arena, God sees. The angels write it down. And our reward will not come in the form of applause or accolades, but in the wedding garment we wear at the Lamb's supper, when Jesus comes for his Bride. We will stand adorned in the righteous acts we performed for His glory. (Rev. 19:8).

So I will keep dreaming and working on whatever the Lord places in my path. These things are not the devil's distraction, they are my ministry. They are my daily bread.

They are my joy.



J M Gallagher said...

Still working and learning to count it all joy. Yes, even editing.
My mother was a music teacher and big fan of Re'Gen (though I can't remember which albums we owned). Brings back happy memories. =)

Anonymous said...

thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post, Angie.

Susan Plett

Anonymous said...

This post struck a chord with me, too, Angie. Adjusting to a new kind of home life can be taxing on all involved. Each of us ministers to the other in little ways and bigger. We just don't know that's what we are doing. Thanks for opening my eyes. Clyde

Anonymous said...

Excellent. A deeply grateful thank you. This touches a deep place in my soul.

Your thoughts echo mine on so many occasions during the years I was "in ministry" with my husband. I always felt that my family was to be the main focus of my ministry, though I worked very hard for my husband's ministry as well.
Once, someone told me (unbelievable...) that if I stayed home to care for my babies instead of serving in a particular church activity on a separate week night the Lord might take one of my children. (I was serving during every service and at other times each week, but if I did not serve in this as well, I was in sin.)

...I stayed home with my babies.

I am now in my 50's, still active in my particular area of ministry, and still deeply love people. My children are grown and are wonderful human beings, love Jesus, are close to each other and to my husband and me. I have two beautiful grandchildren.

Now, I also have aging parents who still care for my special needs brother in their home. It is a new journey in ministry that I am trying to prayerfully figure out.

Arkansas Angie
(*waving!* -- Haven't commented in a long time, but still pop in.)