The Ministry of Life Giving

 “…I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10)

To say that Jesus is pro-life is an understatement.  I don’t mean that in the politicized sense that phrase tends to be currently used (although I believe He has some pointed things He’s going to say to that too).  I mean pro-life more broadly in the sense that whatever enhances His desired life outcomes for His creation, He’s for.

Look at how, in His earthly ministry, He was always seeking the ones for whom life had become a burden.  He would interrupt His plans to heal a child, or to encourage someone who wasn’t well-regarded by others, or change the destiny of someone ashamed and rejected by the rest of society.  He opened peoples’ eyes to the real intentions of GOD, giving them a hopeful perspective they previously lacked.  He affirmed the value of women and children in a highly stratified, paternalistic cultural setting.  And He taught His followers to care about other people in ways that were uncommon in that day…and perhaps in this day.

When He gave correction or rebuke, it was usually because of misunderstandings about GOD’s will or an overt disregard for and disparagement of the inherent value of someone in whom resided the very image of GOD.  Words like “fool” and “worthless” are words of judgment against another that He warned His followers to carefully avoid.  They are words which negate life rather than affirm and elevate it.  I think there’s a lesson in this for us if we consider ourselves a follower of His.  No one was ever helped by being called stupid or treated like they were.

How many of us actually prefer to be around people who discourage us?  I know the answer: None!  We want to be around people who encourage us, who lift us up, who empower us by their belief in us.  How many great things have been accomplished because someone was on the receiving end of encouragement?  Who wants to be around the “Debbie Downers” who seem to always complain, criticize, scoff at, or mock something or someone?  Who wants to be around those who are cynically glib?  I think I know the answer: Only those who take pleasure in tearing down rather than building up.

I want to build up.  I suspect the vast majority of us want to build up.  The ministry of life giving is for us…but it requires commitment, great discipline and faithful reliance on the Chief Builder.

The ministry of life giving is one of grace and love and mercy.  The ministry of life giving sees potential in others and encourages them (literally, implants courage) so that the potential GOD placed in them might blossom.  The ministry of life giving is hopeful and opportunistic and never stops moving forward.  It looks a little (or a lot) like Jesus.  Be encouraged…and offer encouragement.  It’s standard for abundant living.

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

© Byron L. Hannon, 2020.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.

 

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