Torch, Summer 1991

-------------------------- present the lesson. If our own hands are busy with small children, it is very likely that God may want us to minister to small children-our own and perhaps a few others. What is in our hands? As the children grow, our ministry may change. Are our children in school? We can try hosting or teaching an after-school Bible Club. Is there a PTA that needs help? We can encourage our children 's schoolteachers. Would our presence at school functions show that we care? We can attend. Would our presence even provide an opportu– nity to be a witness or extend the grace of God to someone else who has a need? We should attend prayerfully. Are our children teenagers? They no longer want us to hold their hands , yet they seem to have some inner longing for our hands to be involved in the interests they have. Are they dribbling basketballs, fumbling footballs, or tooting trumpets? These are not the years they may ask for our presence, but somehow we find that they appreciate it anyway. What is in our hands? Wives, husbands , children, fathers, servants, "Whatsoever ye do, do it ..." (Colossians 3:23). But do it "as to the Lord," says Paul. Whether it is ministry or not depends on whom we are trying to please. If our eyes are on the Lord, He somehow takes what is in our hand and provides refreshment and ministry for others around us. By this time, we may be throwing up our hands, saying, "Wait a minute! I just can't do everything that needs to be done. " Once the Lord opens our eyes to possibilities for ministry, we will see fields "white unto harvest." Where do we begin? How do we know what to do first? How can we meet so many needs and maintain our sense of joy? The answer is once again in the hands. Two hands are limited; they hold only so much. But that is why God put us in "the body," placing different gifts in the collective hands of many individuals. Working together, doing our small part, we can accomplish the overall job that God wants done. Certainly, our own hands cannot do everything, but our hands can be full-fully committed to do whatever God wants to do through them. We start by using what is in our hands already. If there is room to add more, we add as He enables, praying for wisdom and perspective lest we be "weary in well doing" (Galatians 6:9). We pray for wisdom to do the right amount with a proper attitude for doing it. Our key verse also offers a clue as to how much our hands can hold: "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with thy might. " Different tasks require different amounts of energy and enthusiasm. One job done thoroughly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully may be all we should handle. Many jobs include peripheral ministries as spin-offs from the primary task. If we're alert to discover these built-in extras and are willing to devote time and energy to do them, we will accomplish many smaller tasks along the way. Occasionally, a few less demand– ing jobs may be done simultaneously and still allow us to give each of them equal care, planning, and commitment. However, if we can't do something "heartily" to the Lord (Colossians 3:23), then our hands are too full. Remember Mary, in whose hands the heavenly Father placed His own Son. When she first heard about her responsi– bility, she responded, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy Word" (Luke 1:38). Mary submit– ted herself as a servant girl and made herself available. She was content with the ministry God gave her. Only one person in history received the privileged assign– ment of being mother to Jesus. Our tasks may be less auspi– cious. We may need to be content vacuuming and dusting when we would rather be teaching a Bible club or Sunday school class. We may need to be content singing in the choir when we wish we had the ability to sing solos. God uses His Word to stir up our desire for ministry, and then He uses circumstances, spouses, children, and even church leaders to encourage or limit the kind of ministry we may be doing. What if we are asked, like Moses, to teach or do some job we really don 't think we can do? We can check our time. Can we arrange to be available? But we must also check our faith . Sometimes we have to trust other people's assessment of our abilities, do our best, and leave the results with the Lord. But with a servant's attitude like Mary 's, submission to our Lord' s will can make any activity a ministry. I remember one summer of camp ministries. We had just finished three weeks of camp and were preparing for our fourth . We listened to the director as he counseled his staff that we must be servants. I was tired. My heart rebelled, "I don 't want to be a servant. I want to be served this week." I, the speaker' s wife, had a lesson to learn. Thankfully the theme song, "Make Me A Servant," and the Holy Spirit began immediately to work in my heart. In the final sense, who is our best example? Is it not our Savior Who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Mark 10:45)? And did not Paul enjoin us, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who ... made Himself of no reputation , and took upon Him the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:5-7)? And what did Christ's own townsfolk testify of Him? "From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His hands?" (Mark 6:2). Now the Lord admonishes us, "Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might." •