Ministering to others while needing ministry
[ Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia on 9 June 2019 ]
Sometimes, we find ourselves in a place where we are tired physically and mentally. We catch ourselves asking, “Why must I care about other people’s needs when I have my own needs that need to be taken care of?”
Yet, God has called us to minister. He calls us to rise above our nature.
Read | John 4:1-42
For most of us, the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman speaks of God’s incredible grace, redemption and identity. But it also shows Jesus’ unwavering dedication for the lost: even when he was weary, thirsty and alone, he persevered and broke through the wall of doubt, tradition and discrimination that was in the way of the woman’s salvation!
God has called us to perform similar feats, even while our flesh is continually weakened and wearied by the cares of the world. But take heart! God Himself has given us the strength and capability – in spirit and in mind – to succeed in our own calling, and overcome the weakness of our flesh.
Like Jesus, who depended entirely on God to be full and fulfilled, we too can handle our own “encounters at the well” when we lean unto Him and trust His grace to see us through the kingdom task that has been given to us.
Jesus had a need.
In John 4:4, it stated, “But He needed to go through Samaria.”
We rarely see the word “need” beside “God” because God has no need for anything or anyone but in this verse, we see Jesus having a need. So what more us, humans? Leaders are human beings with needs but God called us to lead and meet the needs of others.
Jesus was tired.
The following scriptures stated “Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
Jesus is 100% God, but He was also 100% human while He was on earth. So He understands our pain, grief, sorrow, and rejection because He has been through what we’re going through. He gives us hope that we can overcome, just like He did.
Jesus was thirsty.
When Jesus was resting, a Samaritan woman came to draw water. And Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
God’s timing is always perfect. He meant to meet the woman at the well, even as she went during midday to avoid the crowds of people who would judge her for her background. He sat there and He was ready to minister, despite the fact that He Himself needed to be ministered to.
Jesus knows our exhaustion. There are plenty of instances in the Bible where He and His disciples went to a place to rest but throngs of people would come to seek their help and at the end of the day, they always minister. It is only by the grace of God that they could do that, and the same goes for us.
Jesus was alone.
At that time when Jesus was ministering to the Samaritan woman, His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
At times, we can feel really alone in ministry. People leave early after church because they are busy or they find excuses so that they wouldn’t have to help in the clean-up. Jesus experienced the same.
Why did all 12 disciples go to buy food? They could have delegated two or three to go and buy food for the rest of them. But sometimes, people just want to escape. We do the work anyway, minister, serve, even when we feel like no one is supporting or helping us. It’s just a fact of life.
Jesus was discriminated against.
The Samaritan woman’s response to Jesus’ request for a drink was this, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Jesus was not only tired, thirsty and alone, but he was also discriminated against for being a Jew. Leaders face discrimination, too. When we talk amongst ourselves, have we ever caught ourselves saying, “Don’t tell my leader” or found ourselves not inviting our leaders to parties? When we do that, we are discriminating against our leaders.
Jesus answered to the discrimination with a word of ministry, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
Jesus was marginalised and challenged.
People often question what qualifications do leaders have to give advice to others, minister to others or teach. Then, when we are needed for a wedding, funeral, or hospital visit, these questions never come up because people are just downtrodden and in need of help. And we, as leaders, must help them anyway.
There is always a reward.
The reward might not come instantaneously because Jesus never got His drink of water. It doesn’t mean that we forget about our responsibilities and commitment to serve God, though. The woman whom Jesus ministered to got excited, left her waterpot and went to tell the city. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified.
Read | John 4: 31-34
In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
Let the Father fill us afresh and anew.
Dream of a time where we can say that we’re full and our thirst is quenched even before the food has arrived. This is how the grace of God works. If you only served when you’re well and happy, you wouldn’t need the grace of God. The grace of God is most evident when we have nothing left to give. And yet, He squeezes us to the last drip and it’s the last drip that will make the difference.
It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take breaks. Often, the world says to “steal time” but a more correct term would be to “redeem the time” that we have sown into the Kingdom. Our reward is the harvest of what we’ve sown, the lives that have been transformed by God and it is worth it.
God is saying to us, “I know you are tired, but are you willing? Because I have a plan for you.”If you feel like giving in, give in to God. Nothing you’ve sown into the Kingdom will be lost. Our best rewards are ahead of us.
Written by Olivia Kristina
Edited by Hailey Chung