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When You Aren't the One to Share the Gospel This Time

That feeling of jealousy —I remember it vividly.

It was 2010 and I was a Josiah Venture intern in Slovenia, serving at a summer camp for high schoolers. The night we shared the gospel, the climax of the week, had come. The evening speaker had focused on clearly presenting the love of Christ and the redemption found in him. The campers had smoothly gone through stations set up to help them internalize the message. Now, teens were spread across the lawn and meeting rooms at the camp facility processing what they had learned.

I stood on the balcony looking out over the quiet lawn, eavesdropping on conversations of faith. The majority of the godly leaders I was working with seemed to be having the kinds of moments that encapsulate mission trips. The ones you prepare and pray for before you arrive, and can’t wait to tell your church about once you get home. Tucked into corners lit with candles, small groups of two or three people gathered together and in hushed voices asked big life questions.

While my teammates were eloquently sharing the reason for the hope they have, I couldn’t help but wish I was the one having a possibly life-changing discussion with a Slovene teenager. Instead, I had spent most of the evening setting up, lighting candles, refilling the snacks table. And now, I was jealous. No good evangelism stories would come out of the night for me.

There’s still part of me that would like to say things are different now, that the circumstances have changed and that when I attend camps today I’m given plenty of opportunities to directly share the gospel with European young people. That’s not the case though. Most of the time, I find my role to be one behind the scenes or influencing other leaders more than the youth themselves. The truth is that although we spend so much time in missions preparing for conversion moments, most of life in ministry isn’t made up of moments like those, and when those moments do come they might not directly involve you.

So, what do you do when you aren’t the one to share the gospel at a particular time? How do you keep from being jealous? Here are some of the truths I like to keep in mind while I serve in whatever role God has me in.

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You Are Meant to Serve

Jesus didn’t come to earth to be served, but to serve. He was called ‘Lord’ and ‘Teacher’ by the disciples, yet he was willing to lower himself and spend time serving them by washing their feet. He told them in John 13:15, “You should do what I have done.” That goes for us too. The seemingly small, dirty tasks that most people wouldn’t want to do are ministry opportunities for us to be like Jesus, serving others the way he did. 

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Your Role Helps the Entire Body

Although you may not always have the role you want, what God has specifically called and equipped you to do is the very best thing you could be doing at any given point in time. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12, we are all a part of the body and each member is arranged by the Creator in order that the whole body would function well. If you are suffering, everyone is suffering; when you’re spending time being jealous of other people’s roles instead of doing your own, it negatively impacts those around you. On the flip side, when you step into what you need to do, it enables others to do what they’re supposed to do too. Someone has to be the one setting up chairs or staying home to watch the kids. When it’s your turn to do it, remember that by taking care of that task, you’re making room for the gospel to spread, because everything in the body is connected.

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You Are Called to Be Faithful

You’ve been entrusted with what Paul calls a “good deposit” (2 Timothy 1:14). The gospel and your gifts have been given to you by God as a treasure meant to be shared and multiplied. Be faithful with the opportunities you have to make that happen, even when they seem insignificant or different than what you want or expect. You never know how God is going to use you when you are a good and faithful servant.

We hope whatever roles God has you in right now, you are being faithful to Christ by serving him and his body well. Pray for us, as our team of missionaries, interns, and short-term team members seek to glorify God no matter what area of ministry he has us in.

 

 

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