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Water for the Thirst

The human body is an amazing creation of our Father.  Our heart pulsates, our  eyes blink, our temperature is regulated, we breath in then out, and perform all kinds of functions without conscious effort. If we contract a virus or infection, break a  bone, burn or cut the skin, with time and proper care they heal, and complete function is restored.

It’s easy to take for granted gifts like health, sight, hearing, gifts like muscle strength and legs, arms and hands to walk, work, play and hold close those we love. But when there is disease or dysfunction in the body,  we are reminded of the value of health in all of our members. Poor health negatively affects our lives and those we love and serve.

As believers, we are the body of Christ on earth. Some parts may be more seen and therefore more valued for their contribution.  We may unconsciously take some parts for granted and assume they will continue to function even if neglected or not properly cared for, but God tells us in His word we are to have mutual concern for all the parts.

But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires…So now we see that there are many differing parts and functions, but one body…He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body. In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.” 1 Corinthians 12:18, 20, 25-26 TPT

Jesus gave us a new commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart mind soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. However, it is possible to love God and be naturally moved to love others but fail to love ourselves properly. Many pastors, Christian leaders and missionaries love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength - and with sincere motivation and intention they give their time, energy, money and lives to love Him  and others - but they fail to recognize and honor the portion of this passage that  says to love others AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF!

Missionaries, pastors and leaders are to be given double honor, but they are not super men and women to be put on a pedestal. They are humans with feelings, failures, hurtful experiences, betrayals, unresolved issues from their past and their generational line, who at times struggle mentally, emotionally and relationally.

When Luis and I married, our heart was to love God and others.  So, we gave our time, our energy our money to love and serve others. But we were not loving ourselves or each other as God commands. We were cheating on each other with the bride of Christ. We broke God’s commandment to rest. In fact, we didn’t understand it was not only okay to rest, but a commandment.  We didn’t understand that the needs and demands of people never end or  how to put healthy boundaries in our lives and ministry. We were serving God with a sincere heart -that was sincerely misdirected. We have witnessed ministry marriages of 25, 30 years or more broken because of long-term neglect of personal and relational issues. 

Precious, gifted people who know the truth and share it with great power and love, but like the frog slowly dying in boiling water, they  found themselves in difficult circumstances they never dreamed of that negatively impacted or even destroyed their marriage, family, lives and even ministries.  

We all go into ministry with passion and purpose, but quickly the things necessary to accomplish that purpose can begin to consume our time and energy;  the intense needs of the people and demands of the ministry can cause us to lose sight of Jesus’ command to love God and ourselves and seek God’s kingdom and the righteousness.  That kind of peace and love is found only in intimate union with Christ Jesus, trusting His promise that everything else will be taken care of.

…when Jesus resurrected Lazarus he told his disciples to unwrap him.

Of course, there is a personal responsibility which falls on the individual for their own lives and health, but when Jesus resurrected Lazarus he told his disciples to unwrap him. The disciples had a level of freedom Lazarus did not have at the moment that allowed them to help him get free from the thing that had him bound him. We see in 1 Corinthians 12:20 that God wants the members of the body to look after one another with mutual concern.  Who looks after missionaries, pastors and ministers of the kingdom? All day every day they are serving others - usually in a foreign culture.  They may feel unable to be open and vulnerable about their needs with others who look up to them as mentors and leaders. Many feel alone as they are far from family and friends possibly without a local body to encourage and support them not just with ministry challenges but  in the struggles we all face in our personal lives, relationships, marriage, family, etc.

Whoever receives a prophet because he is God’s messenger will share a prophet’s reward. And whoever welcomes a good and godly man because he follows me will also share in his reward. And whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of my humble disciples, I promise you, he will not go unrewarded.” Matthew 10:41-42 TPT

Giving a cup of cold water isn’t just a command to give literal water, it’s also a command to provide refreshment for disciples of Christ who need refreshing. Sometimes it’s the pastor, the minister, or the missionary who is the humble disciple who needs refreshment.  That’s why I love the heart of Wild for the Nations and the passion to mobilize the church to be an active part of what God is doing in the nations.  Wild for the Nations’ role as an intercessor between the local church body and the missionaries serving the global body increases the awareness of the local church not only of the financial and ministry needs of missionaries, but  also of the need to encourage, heal and to touch the hearts of those who serve in the nations – giving a cup of cold water for a parched missionary soul.

How can we give a cup of cold water to humble disciples who work in the mission field?

1. Encourage missionaries not only in their ministry work, but as individuals with real life needs, challenges and struggles.  Be a safe place where they can be transparent, share, grow, and heal.

2. Challenge and continually exhort them in love to rest and take care of themselves and their families’ spirits, soul, and bodies.  Remind them to set healthy boundaries and remember that the needs of the ministry never end.  Even Jesus periodically took breaks from ministry to go behind a rock and renew His strength.  Challenge them to rest regularly and often without feeling guilty.

3. Pray not only for provision, protection and strategy for their ministries,  but for the health and protection of their marriages and families.  Pray the Holy Spirit would direct and guide and provide opportunities for them to  obtain and maintain health in their spirit, soul, body, relationships and leadership.

As we follow the instruction of the head ( Jesus) and do these things and more we activate the power of the body to heal and function as described in Ephesians:

….All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into him, the anointed Head of his body, the church. For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16 TPT

 

 

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