MACOMB TOWNSHIP – My husband is a pastor and we have been in ministry together for more than twenty years. During these twenty years, our roles and titles have changed somewhat, but our purpose has not. We are called to share the gospel, build disciples, and minister to people.
When ministering to people, we often help those who are sick, hurting, or in need. What happens when the needs become more than what we can handle? In ministry, the compassion opportunities will never end, so it is up to us to go before the Lord, and ask him to give us wisdom and discernment to handle the needs that are before us.
As leaders in ministry, I think we can learn a good lesson from Jesus in John 5 when he healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.
Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda. Crowds of sick people – blind, lame, or paralyzed – lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
– John 5:2-6 (NLT)
Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed!
- John 5:8-9a (NLT)
It is important to point out that the passage says there were “crowds of sick people” who gathered at the pool of Bethesda who hoped they would have an opportunity to be healed by the waters. Can you picture this in your mind? So many people, with so many needs! In walks Jesus, the one who could heal all the sick and take away all their pain. However, that wasn’t His purpose on that day. Instead, Jesus made His way over to the lame man and asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
I often think of this passage of scripture when I am feeling overwhelmed by the needs of ministry. God doesn’t ask us to meet all the needs we see. We are not the savior of the world. We have a Savior, and His name is Jesus. He has already come and because he has come, we can now go to Him and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how to give compassion to those we see who are in need.
I love this quote by Andy Stanley:
“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”
We should focus on meeting the needs for the one God has asked you to minister to. How often do we start our day and begin straightaway meeting the needs of everyone right in front of us? What if we started our mornings with a prayer like this:
Jesus, I surrender my day to you. Who do you want me to minister to today? Give me discernment in the decisions I make today so that I can walk out the purpose you have for me to be your hands and feet. I pray against distractions from the enemy and that I will be in tune with your voice as you lead. Give me the strength and stamina I need to be able to do what you are asking me to do. Help me to not do more than what you have purposed for my day. Please make it clear. – Amen
This prayer is powerful because it invites Jesus to lead our day and ushers in an awareness of His presence. A great prayer to pray at night as we end the day is:
Jesus, thank you for leading and guiding me today. Help me to be satisfied with the needs that you asked me to help meet today. I can now leave the other unmet needs in your sovereign hands knowing you have a plan and purpose to meet those needs. I pray for peace and rest tonight. – Amen
When we consistently invite Jesus to lead our lives, we begin to see the way He is working and then allow Him to direct our steps more and more. Our eyes are then opened to see exactly what needs God has placed in our lives for that day. It also keeps us from trying to do more than what God has ever intended for us to do.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
– Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Friend, if you are in ministry or another vocation where you may feel a bit of compassion fatigue from time to time, I invite you to lean on Jesus today. Let Him be your guide. Surrender your day and your time to Him and let Him give you all you need.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen is married to Scott Blanchard, pastor of Lakepointe Church, and moved from Florida to Michigan in the summer of 2009 to plant Lakepointe Church in Shelby Township. She enjoys mentoring and discipling women and also leads women’s life groups through her church. She is passionate about helping women find their purpose in who God created them to be. She is on staff at Lakepointe Church and loves being part of what God is doing in the Metro Detroit area!