But, I Thought …

January 9, 2013
by Sharon Y. Greer

Isaiah 55:9 – As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NIV)

It all started when my friend invited me to visit her. She worked in the school at Ulukhaktok, a tiny Inuit village in the Land of the Midnight Sun. She thought that I might have the opportunity of teaching some classes and ministering in the local church while I was there. The Anglican priest who visited once a month had mentioned that it would be a good idea if we could fill in for him when he wasn't there. But it was up to the local elders.

The days seemed to fly by, as I enjoyed the many varied activities that took place in the community, and before I knew it, I had only a week left. When my final Sunday rolled around and we still had no invitation from the elders, I started to feel increasingly uneasy and disheartened, with a deep sense of disappointment. I had prayed about going, and it had been so clear that I was to go to this village to minister to the people. How could I have mistaken what I was so sure were God's instructions?

As I was trying to deal with these negative feelings, a strange question suddenly popped into my mind. What is your definition of "minister"? While I was quite sure that I knew what the word meant, just out of curiosity, I took the time to check out the dictionary definition. Much to my surprise, it mentioned the phrase "to serve" several times, while only briefly referring to activity in a church.

Then it seemed as if a quiet voice spoke into my troubled heart.

    What about the little girl who asked you to look at her tooth that had just come out? You were hurrying to get to the store before it closed, but you stopped and took the time to listen to her and look at her tooth. She was so excited, and she needed to tell someone about this wonderful occurrence. I picked you to be that "someone".

    Then another day, as you hurried along so you wouldn't be late for the class you were going to teach in the school, a little boy wordlessly shoved a bag of candies up to you. He said nothing, but you knew what he wanted. Without a second thought about being late, you stopped and opened the bag. He flashed you a beaming smile as he began stuffing the candies into his mouth. I picked you to make the time for him.

    You taught some grade 7 students a lesson in story-telling by dramatically presenting an Inuit legend to them. When the class had to write about what they had learned, one boy who was considered to be a troublemaker and had never written more than two or three sentences on any occasion, wrote three pages. When asked how he did this, he said that he could see you and hear you in his mind telling the story, and he wrote what he saw and heard. Now he knew he could write, and he was so excited. I picked you to volunteer your time and skills in this area to help that boy.

    My child, you were never too busy to share yourself with the children. "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40b NIV)

And it was as if a light suddenly went on. God can use us to minister, but not in the way we expect. For me, it wasn't in the church but rather on the road and in the classroom, and it was to children who needed the positive attention of an adult. Just by sharing my time and myself with them, I had unknowingly accomplished the purpose for which I was sent. How might others of us be ministering in unexpected ways?

Prayer: Lord, forgive our short-sightedness, and help us to trust You to perform Your will in Your way. And above all, help us not to run ahead of You, but to follow one step at a time, as You lead. Amen.

About the author:

Sharon Y. Greer <sygreer11@gmail.com>
Sandycove Acres, Innisfil, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks Sharon.


    Wonderful story Sharon and a good challenge. God bless.


    Well written Sharon. It is all about being God’s servant. God Bless.


    Another great devotional from Sandy Cove Acres. Thank you for sharing.


    You ministered to my heart today with your devotional. Thank you. Blessings.


    Dear Sharon: Thank you for today’s message.
    Amen and love in Christ.


    A perfect devotional for ALL of us, Sharon. Thank you.
    (Tx)


    Excellent message Sharon. Thank you!
    Best Wishes for Health and Happiness, and continued contributions on a “Daily” basis, in service and writing.


    Dear Sharon,
    I really enjoy your story “But, I Thought …”.
    Thank you.


    Hi Sharon:
    I have just started to receive it and am enjoying it.


    Thanks, Sharon. Once again, I knew who was writing from the opening sentence. What a wonderful message. Even when we know what it means to minister, we sometimes need to be reminded. Many blessings.


    Dear Sharon;
    May your devotional touch many hearts. Because I truly believe that as ministers of our God, we need to listen and then step out of the pulpit and serve and. Isn’t that what Jesus did, He came to serve?! Amen to your prayer.


    Sharon: Thank you so much for today’s message!! You are so right!! Sometimes I too wonder what are my special gifts that the Lord has given me. This has helped me realize that my gifts are not necessarily what I thought they should be.
    May God continue to use us to do His work in His way.
    Blessings.


    Sharon, I LOVED your devotion this morning. I’ve been asked to give a message to this week and I wanted to share a few thoughts about Being the Church in our community. Your words struck a wonderful cord with me so thank you for your message.
    May God continue to bless you. And keep writing!
    Thanks.


    Sharon,
    Wow, this one won my heart. Living for Christ is truly about how we live our lives sharing the love of Christ as we go about our daily routines, and not about well constructed sermons, church attendance, or religious protocols.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip and were used by God to minister His love to specific individuals needing to experience a personal touch from Him.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful heart-warming testimony.
    God Bless you.


    I liked this devotional.
    It reminded me of a discussion we had just this morning about some students who were to speak about the story of the good Samaritan.
    (abbreviated version) – they were given a short-notice, tight deadline to get their presentations ready, plus there was a change in venue. Without their knowing, it was arranged that each student pass by someone in need.
    Guess how many stopped? None.
    Thanks for writing it and I hope I learn from it!


    What a lovely message, Sharon. It was an eye-opener to me too – because, I never feel as if I am doing enough for God.
    It brought to mind an episode at church recently, when I stopped to chat to a young mother. She has a little daughter and had recently been blessed with a baby boy too. In all the adoration of the new baby, the little girl looked up at me and excitedly told me of her plans for that afternoon. Of course, she got my full attention and she went on to tell me in her 4 – year manner that what she was doing and why.
    Cute huh? I guess your message is right on. I am sure she was feeling left out in those moments of baby adoration.
    Best wishes.


    Good Evening Sharon:
    What a beautiful message confirming the fact that ministry is not only about preaching, but ministry is indeed about serving others with love and interest in many, many ways.
    You learned, “Just by sharing my time and myself with them, I had unknowingly accomplished the purpose for which I was sent.” God sent you to show the little girl who asked you to look at her tooth that you cared enough about her to take time to stop and listen to her little story. You also showed the little boy who wanted his candy bag opened you cared enough about his wishes to open the bag, allowing him to enjoy his treat, even though you were in a hurry to get to the store. I think you had a wonderful time presenting yourself as a beautiful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure our Lord was pleased with your service.
    You lived the true message of Christ… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    I loved this message, it teaches us it is not in what we say, but what we do that assures folks we love our Lord and want to be like Him in all that we do. Your actions were far more effective than any 15 minute sermon with no personal contact.
    I loved it.


    Sharon – what a great devotional! I loved your examples of ministry. And, I enjoyed your writing very much.
    God bless you.


    Sharon:
    God gave you a sermon. There was a double edged
    purpose in your life. One, to help those children, and two; to praise God with a sermon (your devotional) that could be enjoyed, and be a lesson, to six thousand of us. Praise God.

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