The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit - Part 2
“I need to talk to you, and I don’t even know what I’m supposed to talk about,” Jeff said with tears streaming down his face. I suggested he walk with me over to the side of the room where we could discuss his situation without any interruptions.
“When you were up there speaking today, it was as if God closed off everything else around me. I was focused on your every word. I believe what you were saying was coming straight from God. I’m so sick of how I’ve been living my life, my selfishness, my rebellion. I want to change everything, stop living for me, and be on fire for what God wants.”
He was referencing a talk I had just finished giving at the Brothers in Blue weekend event at the Winfield Correctional Facility. We talked a little more, and then I prayed with him. He was the first of four men who pulled me aside that day with similar reactions. I respect these men’s experiences, and I am humbled when I realize God has been at work within me to reach others on a spiritual level. During the times when I am speaking to groups, I often have an awareness that I’m supposed to go to a particular scripture, or tell a particular story, or emphasize a particular point. How this works exactly, I’m not sure—and yet, at the moment it is happening I know what to say.
My purpose in sharing this is not to bring attention to myself or to infer that I am someone special. It is just the opposite. It is about how God works in people to reach other people. There are numerous references in scripture about how the Holy Spirit teaches, leads, and works within those who are Christ’s followers. I believe God desires to use all of us more for His purposes… a lot more.
In this particular instance, all I did was show up for the event, share what I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to say when it was my turn to talk, pray for the group, and then sit down. I enjoy the opportunity to talk about God and what He has taught me, but I can’t guarantee the content of what I say will ever make a difference in anyone’s life. This is where He takes over. This eliminates any pressure to perform, or accomplish, or succeed. We don’t have to be clever or profound. Just show up and do the best we can. It is up to God to cause these small efforts to produce fruit for His purposes.
I’ve been reading a book lately that emphasizes the effects of doing small things in the right way again and again and again. Much of the advice given sounds like it was taken directly out of the book of Proverbs. The author shares numerous stories about how people have applied this concept to their marriages, families, personal habits, and work. The positive changes they have experienced are incredible. Restored health, improved relationships, and financial stability are just a few of the paybacks attributed to this idea. I believe this simple and valuable little bit of information can also be applied in our walk with God and our effectiveness in ministry.
Everyone can do simple. Everyone can show up. Everyone can share something about what God has done in their life. Everyone can encourage others to seek Him. Often I try to imagine what this world would be like if every follower of Christ did these simple things wherever and whenever the opportunity presented itself.
We can create some opportunities to minister by going to places like prisons and jails. Yet, there are many occasions to have an impact on others right in front of us on a day-to-day basis. The world is a mess and the majority are without God and without hope. We have God and we have hope. All we need to do is be a little more sensitive to His leading.
My natural inclination in the past has been to try to respond kindly when someone else initiates a conversation. For years I thought that to be an impressive track record. Lately, I’ve been starting conversations with people I don’t know: at the grocery, at the gas pump, at the post office, at the gym. I’m not quoting scripture or inviting them to church or warning them about death and eternity (not that there is anything wrong with that), but simply talking and letting the conversations go where they go.
Just like those men at the prison, there are a lot of people tired of living life their way. They want to get serious about a relationship with God. All they might need is for us to show up with a willingness to be used by the Holy Spirit to speak into their lives. God set this entire evangelism and discipleship arrangement up with the intent of people reaching people. You can do this… You’re a people.