Whenever I think of the word ministry, my mind goes into several different thoughts. Because I’m a Christian, I hear “ministry” and think of worship and how churches can help the communities. But then my mind flashes into the non-profit sector because of the needs that this world has and organizations that exist to help fill those voids. The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Samaritan’s Purse, and many other non-profits help fill areas that many people don’t recognize the need for until they deal with it themselves. So many places that do work in ministry could not make the reality possible without men and women willing to contribute their time, money, and expertise in volunteer hours. A small percentage consists of paid staff, but many of the most successful non-profits exist because of volunteers.
When you think of the word “ministry,” what do you think of as far as its meaning? Some people look at ministry as a body of religion. Others view it as a person or thing that has accomplishments. There are several variations of the term, but the context is essential because it is constantly evolving. When I look at Habitat for Humanity, it amazes me how this organization strives to ensure that people have their own homes. I have seen by experience too many people living in dire conditions in various housing areas and working towards owning their own home and the pride that comes with that accomplishment. If you have the opportunity to look at some of the Habitat for Humanity homes, you may find that those communities tighten it with support.
One of the most heartwarming opportunities I experienced was Habitat for Humanity’s townhomes in Greensboro, North Carolina. I got to see 1st hand how so many people who were getting their townhome shared homeownership for the 1st time. Several of these folks were single-family homes that it was their dream to provide better for their families and give them a more stable roof over their head and not have to worry about other issues they were dealing with in their housing complexes. One of the tenants even told me that in the apartment where she and her child stayed, there was a significant problem with bed bugs and other rodents that the landlord never took care of, and it wasn’t a safe environment. When they had their townhome built, they had the opportunity to start their lives anew, and their child is now a student in college working towards becoming a physician. Many folks are grateful for Habitat’s ministry so much that they currently volunteer to help others in their journeys.
Then I look at organizations that help with hunger because the communities are so tight now financially. Too many people struggle to make ends meet because their pay is virtually non-existent, or some may not work and are dependent on the government. Disability itself is not a bad thing, but many people who live on disability find themselves struggling to pay the bills because disability alone does not cover very much. You have to be highly savvy to make those dollars stretch, and sometimes that means stretching the dollars in ways that most people would not even think of to get through the day.
A woman I admire greatly recently read a poem about how a job was not just a job but a ministry when it means something to so many. I will never forget listening to that poem and thinking that there is a truth in the saying, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Because when we generally love what we do, we give ourselves to other people. Having a caring and helping hand is not a weakness. Helping people in a crisis takes more strength than most know how to muster. Empathy and compassion go a long way when working with many different people. When we help put clothes on someone else’s back, feed the hungry, or shelter them when needed, we are doing different types of ministry. When we take care of those abused or abandoned, we perform many types of services. Ministry does not have to be religious; it can just be a simple gesture in what we do.
I always see the bell ringers out for The Salvation Army to raise money for their ministry during the Christmas holiday season. Many different non-profits and other groups use the holiday season to obtain more donations because people tend to be more generous during that time of year. The bottom line is that we have a variety of ministries that we all use at various points in our lives. Someone affluent may never step foot in areas with more significant needs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t contribute to those ministries somehow.
I hope that you find ways to contribute to your communities and various types of ministries. You don’t have to be religious to be kind. All you have to do is show a little human compassion in areas lacking for other people. You never know one day you may need to have a ministry help you somewhere along with your life. In any case, remember the places doing everything they can to make this world a better place by volunteering or donating. It’s incredible at the lives that you save along the way. Every gesture may not seem like people in need appreciate it, but it serves more purpose than any of us can imagine in the long run. Have a great day, everyone.