There's a big map of our metro area in the foyer of our church. We're supposed to stick a pushpin in the place where we plan to minister. I'm having trouble deciding where to put my pin because God has clearly told me that "my people" are you, the readers of this blog and the women's groups to whom I speak. You don't fit neatly on our map because you range from being my next door neighbor to being someone who lives in Nigeria. I hear from a reader of this blog at least once a week, either through e-mail, comments or the Facebook page, and I love it. I love having the opportunity to pour God's love and wisdom into your lives.
But, like our pastor on Sunday said, you have different people than I have. You have people in your life on whom you can pour out God's love. God has called you to minister to a certain group of people in your sphere of influence. Those people may be your children and their friends. It may be the people with whom you work. It may be the people who live on your street. Or it may be a worldwide audience that you can reach through the World Wide Web. Whoever they are, they are "your people."
One of the religious leaders of the day asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. Jesus told them "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40) If we are seeking after God, then we will love Him and love our neighbors -- otherwise known as "our people."
If you aren't sure to whom God has called you to minister, spend some time with God asking Him to show you who your people are. Because you definitely have a set of people to whom you are best equipped to minister. Figure out who they are and take steps to be a part of their lives -- put yourself in a position to show and share God's love to them.
But don't stop there. Teach your kids to be ministers as well. Your kids have "people," too. They come into contact with other children and adults that you don't. Your kids don't have to preach from the street corner, but they can be effective in loving their "neighbors," too.
- Talk with your kids about the idea that God has put them in a certain place at a certain time to minister to a certain set of people. Encourage them to look for opportunities to show God's love to others.
- Make a list of things that your kids can do to help others that will carry out the commandment to "Love your neighbor as yourself." Then encourage your kids to pick one thing off the list every day to do for someone else.
- Talk with your kids about the fact that the church is not a building. The church is the people. God calls the church to minister to the rest of the world. We do that by being a picture of God's love to the people with whom we come in contact. Romans 10:15 says "And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" We want our kids to have beautiful feet and bring the good news of Jesus to their "people."