Some may ask, “Ministry? What ministry? My hands are so full with taking care of my kids, I can’t give a thought to ministry.” I once felt the same way.
Between laundry, diapers, doctor’s visits, cleaning, and other responsibilities, how could any mom have time to do ministry?
After having my first child, I engaged in motherhood like many of the other moms around me. All my time and energy was spent on my child. Library time, music classes, gymnastics, swim lessons, play dates—everyday we had an activity. My days revolved around nap times, doctor’s visits and ensuring my child was meeting all his developmental milestones. I enjoyed being a mom and focusing on taking care of my child, but something seemed to be missing. I felt a prodding that there was an important task I was supposed to be doing, yet I couldn’t figure out what it was. So I prayed, asking God for wisdom and understanding about His calling on my life.
In my reading of scripture, I kept coming across passages that I had read numerous times before but this time the Spirit seemed to be prompting me to dig deeper:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:6, 7
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
The more I read and prayed, I came to the realization that I had placed motherhood as an idol in my heart. Could that be? Can the very role of motherhood become an idol? As the Spirit did His work at chiseling away the sin in my heart, I realized that I had placed my role as mother above my calling as a Christ Follower.
As a mother, it’s true that I have a huge responsibility to raise my children in the Lord. It’s also true that I have important responsibilities in caring for my family and household. Yet, I wonder, does it end there? The passages in the New Testament that speak of a Christian’s responsibility to the body of Christ and to the building up of His kingdom have convicted me that my calling is to start in my home and then extend beyond the front doors of my house.
Serving those within my own home should not consume me so much that I cannot even consider serving those outside of it.
Perhaps I could wait until the next stage of my life to focus on serving the church and community. Yet, I believe the commands in scripture speak to my life right now, not later. As God worked to bring this conviction in my heart, I began praying that He would open doors to use me right now. I didn’t know how God could use me while I had two small children to take care of, yet I knew He would make a way.
And indeed, He did make a way. He answered those prayers and opened doors for me to help my church body and the community at large. I began opening my home in hospitality. I started teaching a women’s bible study. I involved my children in extending love to those who are hurting. Each time they asked why we were bringing a meal to someone, or sharing our possessions with someone, or spending time with someone who needed encouragement, I taught them from Scripture about the life Christ calls each one of us to.
We are called to a life of sacrificial living; a life of servanthood.
While that servanthood starts with our family, it doesn’t end there. For me, I found that my routine had become so comfortable that to sacrifice a part of it for someone else seemed like too much to ask. But then I remember the lengths of sacrifice Jesus went to for me. And He calls me to do the same.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:4-8)
Being Christ’s servant means putting others first.
As a mom, it may mean letting the laundry pile up for a day. It also may mean missing one of my child’s activities. It may mean having to change the priorities of my time in order to fulfill my calling as a follower of Christ.
It’s hard in our American culture to live differently from those around us. We want our children to have the same experiences and advantages that other children have. Yet, we are called to something greater. We are working for a Kingdom that is not of this world. The treasure we are building is not here but in the world to come. Sacrificing some of the comforts of our routines and activities for the sake of someone else is part of what it means to “carry our own crosses” for the sake of Christ.
Yes, it is possible to have a ministry as a mom. For each of us, that ministry will look different. It’s important to not only minister to our own family but to extend that ministry to others. For some, it may be a blogging ministry. For others, it might mean reaching out to other moms in the neighborhood. And for others, it may extend even farther into the community and the world.
The process I went through to realize that my role as a mother had become an idol was uncomfortable. But it was a lesson I needed to learn. It prompted me to repentance and prayer. Through it, I learned the importance of intentionally opening my heart and hands to the service of others. And most importantly, each time I interrupt my comfortable life to serve others, I am in fact serving my Lord Jesus Christ.
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
What are the “nets” He is calling you to cast aside in order to serve Him today?
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