Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dangerous Ministry?

by Rick Holland

I love missions. And I really love our church’s missionaries.

One of my favorite parts of our ministry is when we get to interview missionaries on Sunday mornings. A few weeks ago I interviewed Rosie Martinez. She works with inner city girls who are orphans, drug addicts, and prostitutes in Mexico City. She is a fireball for Jesus. You should watch the video of her testimony on the Grace Community Church website to recalibrate your gospel priorities.

Among the many encouraging and challenging things she shared with Crossroads on that Sunday, there was something unexpected. Unexpected, scary, and refreshing.

One of the questions I asked her was if there were any opportunities for us to come to Mexico City for a short-term ministry trip.

“Yes!” she gleamed.

“But I cannot ensure the safety of anyone who comes.”

The room got very still. She went on to tell us that the drug cartels did not want her invading their territories and stealing their prostitutes, even if it was Jesus who was doing the stealing. Being beaten, shot, and even killed is a real threat to her and those who minister with her every day.

I haven’t stopped thinking about what she said to us. “I cannot ensure your safety if you come to minister with me.” I wonder how many parents would be willing to send their high school or college students to spend a week with her. I wonder what I would say if one of my sons wanted to go.

The verse that has been echoing in my mind since that day is Acts 20:24. Paul was saying a final goodbye to the Ephesians elders who had traveled to Miletus to see him. During that tearful interchange he made this profound statement:

“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”

To put it in Rosie’s terms, his safety was not ensured and he was content with that because of the inestimable value of participating in gospel ministry.

All this makes me ask myself some hard questions:
  1. Is my life too “dear” to myself?
  2. Am I willing to do ministry where and when my safety is not ensured?
  3. Will I let my sons risk their lives for Jesus if they are inclined?
  4. Am I passionate about “finishing my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus”?
  5. Am I too comfortable in my ministry?
I hope you will ask similar questions today…

This article first appeared here at Approaching Damascus.

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