We conceive in our philosophy, leadership not as a position, a title, power, authority, respect, or privilege…but as an obligation to service and self-sacrifice. I’m not talking about false humility and putting yourself down. I’m talking about a willingness to render unassuming service. That’s what Jesus called for in Luke 17 when he told the story of the servant who went out into the field and came in that night. All he had done at the end of the day was to render humble service. All any of us will have done by the end of the day is render humble service. It doesn’t matter whether you have to plow five hundred acres or one that day, you’ve just rendered humble service. You’re the Master’s and the Master can employ you any way he desires. I don’t care if you are recruiting a drummer, an usher, or a nursery worker…if he or she doesn’t understand that we humbly render our service to the Lord, then they’ll constantly look for rewards. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON COMPASSION.
Sadly, so many Christians say they have a heart for the poor and needy, but then when asked to help directly with a “hands-on” ministry effort, they reply, “Sorry, no. That’s why I give my money to the church, so the church can do it.”
On many occasions, parishioners at Wimber’s church would come up to him with ministry suggestions. “Pastor, I know a family in my neighborhood who needs some help with their finances. Can the church do something to help them?” John would chuckle and then say, “Yes, I agree. I believe the church should indeed help those neighbors of yours. You have my full permission to go help them with their needs!”
As I see it, the compassion ministry of Jesus is for everybody. In truth, the only ministry Jesus has is the ministry of compassion. As we discussed in our last blog, the New Testament Greek word sozo envelopes the entirety of Jesus mission here on earth. Thus, when Jesus commissioned his friends to go and make disciples across the world, teaching them to do and say everything he taught them (see Matthew 28), he was basically giving us all his ministry of sozo. Around our Vineyard church in Cedar Rapids, we call it Jesus’ mission to go and love “the hell” out of everyone and anyone we come in contact with!
From Wimber’s perspective, there was no distinction between those in full-time pastoral ministry and those who sat in the pews on Sunday morning. When it came to ministering God’s love to the poor, the wounded, the hungry, and the oppressed; everybody needs to play and no one is excluded from the call.
Simple, humble service unto the Lord then became Wimber’s mission in life. He often told us of the way he thought of himself as a coin in the Lord’s pocket saying, “Spend me, Jesus, the way you’d like to spend me, today.” To Wimber, he didn’t care, quite honestly, if the Master placed him in front of thousands or in front of just one or two. For him, the job of serving Jesus faithfully was all the same; or as one pastor said it, “When working for Jesus, the pay is the same!”
So, as we come to this conclusion on the subject of compassion, let’s agree together that from now on, we’ll no longer set aside certain individuals in our midst as those who care for the poor or the hungry. When it comes to caring for the less fortunate, let’s determine up front that all of us in the community of Christ are called, commissioned, and empowered by the Spirit to throw ourselves headlong into the sozo ministry of Jesus. And with his hands and heart leading the way, amazing things can happen as we care for souls, one person at a time, in the compassion ministries of our Master.
Jesus, your commission is quite clear. Your entire church is called, commissioned, and sent out in your name to say and do all the things you said and did two thousand years ago. Without wavering, I choose to say “yes” to my part of your Great Commission. Give me your heart, your compassion, your strength, and your love, so that I might go, being your hands to the broken and needy ones. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- Rather than waiting for others to care for the poor and meet the needs of the oppressed, what specific actions can I take today to enter into Jesus’ sozo ministry?
- Where, in my city, is there a great need? Where, in my neighborhood, can I begin today to bring the compassion of Jesus to those in great need?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
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