My personal ministry started when I was 12 years old, although at the time I would not have described it like that.
I am the oldest of 4 siblings, and when we were children, here really was not much money. Pastor Dad was not “poor as a church mouse”, but whenever we kids wanted something, we understood the tyranny of the budget. 😊My mom was highly inventive with her pantry and there was always enough on the table, but cake was strictly birthdays only and ice-cream a once-a-month Sunday treat.
So, when I started asking for piano lessons, I didn’t holdout much hope, but somehow Dad found the money, and for just over 2 years I would cycle to my teacher once a week, sometimes a little anxious, to be honest. She was demanding and I couldn’t fool her when I hadn’t practiced! 😊Somehow, she managed to multiply what talent I had, and I grew competent very quickly. Dad, eager to make his investment pay, soon volunteered me to play for “Sunshine Corner” at church on Friday afternoons, a meeting especially for 8 to 16-year-plds. This was before the days of videos and games routinely offered now to keep the kids occupied. Instead, indoors, we were taught the deep things of God and the gifts of the Spirit operated freely among us. Outdoors it was picnics, parties and FUN!! 😊One of my most vivid memories of that time is of a room full of children lying on their faces before God, weeping and praying, and then fervently laying hands on those who were sick and in need. What a gift was given me when I got to play that old upright piano for them! This is how I learned about ministry. This is how I learned that the anointing is not a product of skill but of utter adoration.
My first real ministry partner was Best Beloved, and it literally started the week we got back from our honeymoon when our pastor asked us to become the youth leaders. This turned out be a very good school for us, one in which we learned some difficult lessons and many useful skills, all of which were vital to the next step in our calling.
What is it to minister but to simply give yourself to the need of another? And when it is done in the name of Jesus, there can be no higher calling, no greater ‘success’. We so easily lionize and idolize public figures, judging their success by the size of the audience or in these social media times, the number of ‘followers’ they have.
I believe our Lord Jesus still looks only for a hand, my hand, your hand, extended to another in His name. We are called, one and all, to be ministers of His grace.