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Sheep or Goat or Ministry Irrelevant

The CYMT is on week 3 of our Formation for Ministry class.  This week, we are asked to read and be read by Matthew 25:31-46.   We also looked at “Being with and for the suffering and the excluded,” by Killian Noe.

In preparation for the Matthew scripture, I honestly got hung up on the question “What does it mean to be read by a scripture?”  This was not a phrase that I was familiar with from my theological studies (or I was not paying attention that day.)  But my experience of Jesus’ Sheep and the Goats parable is one of “being read.”  This scripture dives into my soul.  I think most people read this scripture and want to focus on others, but I think this scripture is about us.

Killian Noe’s words reinforced that feeling for me.  I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, ordained by the United Methodist Church to Word and Service and I have to wonder if I truly am in ministry.  For years, I have argued that Youth are marginalized and they are.  Our society makes them grow up to fast. They have everything and they have nothing of value.  They are hungry and thirsty for true life.  They are naked and unprotected from the lies of our world.  They need Jesus.

Yet, Killian and Jesus point to the side of the road.  Am I inconvenienced at all to “be with” those in need?  I would have to say not.  Oh, I am present with youth and families; but where am I “offering myself to the suffering, broken, and excluded of my world that I can become whole” (Noe – single tense).  Where am I fighting?

I do fight for youth ministry.  I want my fight to make a difference in the lives of youth and families.  I want it to change churches.  And I want all of that to inspire others to reach out to the margins and “be with” those who need “more.”  I better model this, so that those I teach can see it, and show youth, families, and the church.

So the question that lingers is where and when an I modeling these things?  Making them a discipline in my own life? Being transformed?

I’m not stopping along the roadside as much as I would like.  The persons I need to reach out to have been a part of my life for 16 years.  They have been some of my dearest friends.  One of them has been along the roadside for a long time although he did not look like it.  Now, he is there and needs me and others.  I pray for the strength to “be with” him and his family in the months and years to come.  I started today with a long overdue letter.  Now its time for a visit.

I realize it is hard to stop, but life is in the stopping.

We stop to: go on mission trips, to listen, to play with our kids, and to experience. Stopping involves changing our focus from us to someone else.

I am less concerned about Sheep and Goats cause that is up to Jesus.  But I do not want my minstry to be irrelevant to the Kingdom.  Because is irrelevant ministry even ministry?

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