Prevention or Clean-up?

There are two types of ministry that the Church does today.

The first I will call “Prevention.” We will never know the amount of evil that is stopped by the ministry of the Church. Twice in my life, I talked with people who were seriously contemplating suicide when a Bible teaching broke through to them. There have been people who told me of considering divorce when a Church member invited them into their lives and changed everything. Stories like these abound in the lives of those who gather with the Church each week.

The second I will call “Clean-up.” These are ministries that do good things to help people who have chosen to make bad decisions. Some of the most notable forms of this are called Celebrate Recovery, which is like an Anonymous group for believers. This ministry takes those who are hurting and helps them clean up some area of their lives, so they are more presentable to society and often their family. There is a long list of possible ways to help our fellow human rebuild after failure.

Both of these are valid ministries.

There is this tendency to think that the second one is the most important. If we are called to love one another like the good Samaritan, then we must help people clean up their lives. I totally agree, but I have a follow-up question. If the good Samaritan had arrived earlier and scared off the robbers to save a man he did not know, would that be a good work too?

I hope that in your life you will help to feed the hungry and cloth the poor. I hope you will do great things in the name of Jesus for those who have walked a difficult path in life. I also hope you understand the importance of being a mentor to a young person or pouring out your life into a newlywed who is struggling.

My mom used to quote the say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is not just a wise saying, and it is also a truth about serving the Lord.

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