I was listening to a minister the other day and he was talking about doing the right thing with the wrong spirit and how dangerous that can be. As I reflected on that I began to see the truth in the statement. Has anyone done you a favor you knew they didn’t want to do? Has your child ever done a chore with a bad attitude? Have you ever finally given in to someone asking you to do something and did it with a nasty disposition? Even though the right thing is being done, the wrong spirit kills the action. This can happen quickly in ministry as well.
In the street ministry, our unwritten promotion policy is: we don’t promote anyone unless they have demonstrated their willingness to lay their lives down for the people we serve. In other words, they have to love the people. Sounds pretty simple, huh? It is simple. As crazy as it sounds, though, it is rare. Finding people to serve out of love is rare these days. Jesus said it would be. In Matthew 24 Jesus prophesied, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”
We get into ministry because of an encounter we’ve had with the Lord. The personal revival is so stunning we can’t help but tell everyone we meet what has happened and eventually some kind of ministry is born. But as the weeks and months go by we get caught up in the busyness of life and get caught in doing “ministry as an event” instead of doing “ministry as a lifestyle.” When this happens, doing the right thing with the wrong spirit is right around the corner. What are some of the indicators?
- Half listening to someone because you know you should, not because you appreciate their humanity which was made in the image of God.
- Begrudging some action that you feel obligated to do because you wear the name “Christian.”
- Showing up late and leaving early.
Obviously the list goes on. But let’s be careful in this. The consumer spirit in our nation has affected even the church and we cannot allow our “obligation” to do what’s right cause our witness to be tainted. Believe me, people can tell. You can tell when someone is doing something for you because they have to. You don’t think the lost can tell if we’re truly excited to serve them? It’s easier to spot than you think. I see it all them time. If that’s you, just repent. If you need to take some time away, do that. But then get back in the fight. Remember we’re in this for the long haul so it isn’t unChristian to take a rest.
Let’s challenge each other to examine our motives so that when we obey the great commission that our hearts and minds and bodies all say the same thing to the harvest field: WE LOVE YOU!
With Love from the Streets