One struggle for anyone in the Church and especially those involved in ministry is to keep from becoming calloused and hard-hearted.
Almost every day, I have people lie to me. Weekly, I deal with some type of ugliness from someone who calls themselves a believer. Regularly, I encounter people with a profound lack of faith in positions of influence. I have met people who abuse the systems for their laziness or addiction. The list of things that make me shake my head is long and painful.
So how does someone keep their heart from becoming hard and their words from being jaded? The typical answer I see across the internet is, “draw close to God through Jesus.” There is much wisdom in this thinking as God is the one who transforms us from the inside out through the power of his Holy Spirit. Spending time in prayer and reading your Bible are two ways to keep from a hardening of the soul.
I would also add one more item to that suggestion. Draw close to Jesus through his body. One of the beautiful blessings of being a part of the local Church is that I also get to see people at their best too.
This past week we hosted a Vacation Bible School at our Church for ages four years old through eighth grade. We had well over a hundred and twenty kids and over fifty volunteers who helped pull everything together. Each night, I take responsibility for the trash and any odd jobs that occur. This allows me to walk around and talk to people, watch our volunteers, and observe the children.
Weeks like this soften my heart. I watched teenage young adults help children with projects and learn the lessons. With that – another callous falls off. I saw kindergarteners excited to learn the Bible each night. And another area begins to soften. I spent time with senior adults helping children have a snack, and the workers get fed. I saw the smiles of Jr. High students as they made gifts for the local police. Every night I saw something that transformed me and my view of people.
If you are not part of a Church, I hope you will pray and read. You need to draw close to Jesus somehow, but I am not sure you will ever be as close to him as when you are watching his body of believers show his love to others.
Sure this week was exhausting. It is always that way. But it was also fulfilling. It is always that way too.