Tag Archives: ministry

Reflecting Grace

Mercy and grace are 2 sides of the same coin. We often confuse them; or at least merge the 2 meanings together. It is easy to see what that is. In both cases, something is willingly given that isn’t mandated. I use these simple definitions to remind myself of the difference:

Grace – Giving something good that wasn’t deserved.
Mercy – Not giving something bad that was deserved.

For Christians, we understand that God has offered us both mercy and grace. The very foundation of our faith is in the mercy we receive from confessing our sins and the grace God offers to us both now and for all eternity. God’s mercy and grace are one continuous idea – God shows us mercy so he can give us grace.

If I am to reflect God to the world, how do I show mercy and grace? I don’t often find myself in situations where I can show mercy. I am not in a position to negate a punishment, though you could argue that when disciplining my children I could go easy on them (which of course may be to their detriment long term). As for grace, I believe I have plenty of opportunity.

One practical way to share God’s grace is through a personal ministry. I was once told by a friend that everyone should have a ministry, and I wholeheartedly agree. It is through our ministering to others that we give someone something they haven’t earned or paid for. We do it for them, not because we must, but because we want to reflect God’s love into the world.

I believe that we find ministry most effective, and therefore most rewarding, when we are involved in the one we were created for. God has given each of us different abilities and passions. Some of them seem to be ingrained in us from birth; while others are developed through experience and exposure. Either way, God has created and guided us for a special purpose to show His grace to this world.

Most churches have many opportunities to use our talents. You can lead worship, teach Sunday school or sit on a committee. But, we can also look outside of the scope of what a local congregation organizes, which tend to minister to those who seek, and minister to those who need to be sought.

Some people minister with community groups – working with “at-risk” youth, delivering meals-on-wheels or volunteering for a charity. Others have ministries that are simply doing something for someone who needs it – shovelling snow for an elderly couple or visiting with someone who just appreciates a good conversation. Jesus commands us to love our neighbours and through ministering to others we are providing a glimpse of God’s grace – we are showing love in action.

God has granted us unspeakable mercy and has given us immeasurable grace. Our response should be to pass His generosity along; finding a way to shine into the world and live like we have been saved and serve like we want everyone to know it.

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Shifting Focus

20 years ago, FOX owned the rights to NHL games in the USA. In an attempt to win fans over, they invented the “glowing puck” officially known as FoxTrax. They implanted technology into the puck that allowed it to glow blue or (red if it was moving faster than 70 MPH) on TV. The idea was that viewers didn’t like hockey because it was hard to follow the small, fast moving puck around the ice. If they made it easier to follow the puck, viewers would find it easier to enjoy the game. As a lifetime hockey fan, the only time I thought the “glow” was useful was when the puck was up against the near boards and obstructed from the camera. The technology made the “glow” appear through the boards; you couldn’t see the puck, but you could see the glow.

I don’t miss the blue puck for two reasons. The first is that, if you understand hockey, you know where the puck is (most of the time) without needing a visual aid; in fact, you don’t even need to see the puck to know where it is. Watching the players on the ice will tell you where it is. The second reason is that focusing on the puck takes you away from watching the whole game; you miss the strategy and beauty of the game. By focusing on only the puck, you miss the players moving around, setting up and trying to score. That is why hockey broadcasters sit high up; they can see the whole game, and don’t focus on just the player with the puck.

We can get this tunnel vision in life as well. If we only focus on one thing, we can miss the big picture. One of the ways we do this is by focusing on “what’s in it for us” and not stepping back and seeing how God can use us for His purpose. We pass up an opportunity to be the difference in someone else’s life because we don’t see how it will benefit us. We use our gifts to improve our own life, but miss out on the joy of using it to help others.

So, how do you stop “watching the puck” and enjoy the beauty of life to the fullest? That is a question each of us has to answer individually. God has called us all to different ministries. He has gifted all of us differently so that we can fulfill His purpose for our lives. So, the answer lies within you. There are different ways to learn about your spiritual gifts, and you may want to look into something like a spiritual gift aptitude test. What I have found in my life is that I get a burning desire towards something. Through prayer and seeking God an internal passion develops. In doing this, I have found that God can use me in ways I didn’t know possible and ministries that I could only see if I focused my eyes on His big picture.

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