“We are a candle in our home countries. We are being burned in order to bring light to our communities.”
~ An indigenous Christian missionary who recently visited Real Life Ministries and who would only give his first initial, last name, and general area of Southeast Asia as his community, on why he does what he does in such a highly persecuted area of Muslim and Buddhist influence.
Exodus 17: 8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (NIV)
When I first volunteered in the Audio/Video Tech area of Real Life Ministries, one of the first things my supervisor did was to give me a small card with the above Scripture written on it. He let me read it then he said, “If you’re gonna participate in volunteer ministry, you’ve got to understand the role we all play, right? Now who all do you see in this story?”
“Well,” I answered, taking time to study the brief passage once again, “There’s Joshua, Moses of course, Aaron and Hur.”
“Exactly,” he said, “And as part of the A/V team, and especially us on the soundboard, taking all the roles that these men are playing within the context of that passage, what role do you think we’re playing here? Who do you think we are?”
I looked at it again, puzzled. “Umm,” I said, “not sure.” (I’m lousy at tests under pressure!)
He smiled, most likely knowing that’s exactly what I would say.
“Well,” he began, “Joshua is the focus of everyone’s attention at this point, so he’s basically center stage. Moses is . . . well, Moses. He’s the one running the whole thing. Aaron is both Moses’ voice and the voice of God, so he’s the one in communication with everyone else. And then there’s Hur.”
“The only part Hur plays in this whole ordeal with the Amalekites is to hold up Moses’ hand. That’s it. Not much. Yet, without him, Joshua would have failed. Moses would have failed. And the Israelites would have suffered a crushing defeat to a far superior force. Yet, here he is. A small part; most likely unseen by everyone but the three of them there on that hill: But crucial.”
“That’s us! We’re Hur. In fact, that’s volunteer ministry in a nutshell: Small, mostly unseen, yet crucial to the success of this, or frankly any, church.”
So here’s to all the Hur’s out there doing volunteer ministry!
The next time you pass out a bulletin, greet a guest, sing in the choir, or adjust the EQ on the pastor’s mic, remember: it may be a small part, unseen, unsung, soon forgotten; yet you play a necessary and crucial role in the success of that service, of your church and ultimately of Jesus’ mission to us all!
The unseen hands. The unsung heroes! The Hur’s!
It’s eerie to walk into church on the National Day of Prayer. The place is normally bustling, serving dozens if not hundreds of people most every day. But today it’s quiet; soft and soundless. Not in a creepy, unnerving sort of way, but almost reverent; respectful; like even the people who work here are differing their normal conversations to an acquiescent hush and honor.
I walk into the expansive, upstairs room designated as a central gathering place of prayer for the community and I’m given a small, discreet packet full of material: From a short historical background of the National Day of Prayer to suggestions and outlines of prayer opportunities for our nation, our families and our community. I was happy to see this and it was most helpful because, in all honesty, I had no clue what I was doing.
If I may get a little personal and transparent here: I’m not a devoted pray-er. My wife? That’s another story. We’ll often be talking about a certain situation going on in our family, or our home group; decisions that need to be made, priorities that need to be set, and so on, and she’s the type of person who stops in the middle of our discussion and says, “You know what? We need to pray about this.” Then she grabs my hands and we do. Right then! It’s maddening! Not because we ALWAYS need to pray about stuff in her eyes (which we do), but that I didn’t think to do it as well. I’m just not wired that way . . . yet.
So, this National Day of Prayer, and being personally involved in it?
Wwwwaayyyy out of my comfort zone.
As I look through the material, I’m struck by the thoroughness and breadth of prayer suggestions held within; prayers for our government, military and churches as well as our business community, educational community, the media, and of course, our families. What also strikes me is the non-judgmental tone of the prayers.
“Pray for our local, state, and national leaders. Ask God to grant them wisdom, discernment, and hearts that are open to His leading.”
I can do that.
“Pray for God to grant courage, protection, and strength for our Military and their families.”
I can do that, too.
Before I knew it, an hour had gone by and I’d prayed. I. Had. Prayed. The funny thing was that even I felt better. Prayer is a praise to God; a thank offering; and a request for supplication—either for ourselves or someone we love, know, or are concerned about. And in praying for our leaders, our military, my family and community, I felt rejuvenated within my own walk, and I hadn’t even asked for anything toward myself. It was as if God went, “Thank you for your concern. I’m aware of all those needs, and the voices of all those who are asking in unison with you. And here’s a little something for you as well.”
I may try this praying stuff again sometime soon. After all, another handy item in the material I was given was a 40-day prayer guide for family and nation. How convenient is that?
It was like they knew . . .
What does “joy” mean to you? If you’re a follower of God, is that a “joyful” experience? If you’re not, can you still say your life is “joy-filled”? What does the term “joyful” even mean?
From a Christian perspective, I’m taking “joy” as from the fruits of the spirit described by Paul in Galatians:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. (AMP)
From a Merriam-Webster perspective, “joy” is described as:
1 a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion.
2: a state of happiness or felicity; bliss
3: a source or cause of delight
The Amplified version of the Bible also uses the word “gladness”:
1: archaic : having a cheerful or happy disposition by nature
2 a: experiencing pleasure, joy, or delight. b: made pleased, satisfied, or grateful.
3 a: marked by, expressive of, or caused by happiness and joy. b: causing happiness and joy; pleasant
4: full of brightness and cheerfulness
Would others use these descriptors of you? Does that sound like your walk with God? Does that sound, in general, like your walk through life? Why, or why not? Take a moment to examine your reaction to those definitions in light of scripture. Substitute a few other words; delight, pleasure, grateful(ness), cheerfulness.
Go ahead . . . I’ll wait . . .
Does your walk with God, your life following Holy Scripture, evoke those particular adjectives? Apart from God, does your life reflect gratefulness, or “the emotion evoked by well-being”? At what?
Personally, I think these definitions fit nicely into the idea of peace that I touched on within my post entitled “Question: Why Do I Need Something Else?”, namely;
I think it’s quite an achievement to find peace, or joy, or gladness, or “the emotion evoked by well-being”—whatever you want to call it—despite your circumstances, not because of them; to have “well-being, success . . . or the prospect of possessing what one desires” regardless of the “stuff” you own, the title after your name, the money in your I.R.A.
Living outside of yourself, your own needs, your own wants, frees you to see the world with a whole new perspective. Not necessarily to feed all the starving children in Africa (although, if that’s your call, more power to you), but to see, and be able to respond, to the needs of your own family, your immediate circle of friends, your co-workers, and on and on.
Seeing—and most importantly being able to respond to, and fulfill—those needs will soon make you realize that what you’ve got is often . . . enough. To be able to help, or at least have the willingness to try, is often where the “source or cause of delight” emanates from. After all, how do you feel being able to do something that someone else appreciates? How does it feel to be able to provide something that someone else needs, that it’s “no big deal, I had an extra one.”? Could it be that that feeling is, “the emotion evoked by well-being (in being able to do the right thing), success (at being able to help), or good fortune (at having the means to help) or by the prospect of possessing what one desires (that “one” not necessarily meaning “you”)?
. . . just a thought.
Overall, I think the key to it all lies in the Amplified versions additional definition of the fruit of the spirit, “[the work which His presence within accomplishes]“: A work, or a change, that comes from within, that lets you be filled with a joy in knowing all that you can do without.
Again, just a thought.