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Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

How often have you been “locked” in conversation with someone on Sunday morning only to find yourself thinking about the person you need to talk to “over there”? Our minds start to wander and our eyes follow. I know the thoughts, “I need to touch that man over there this morning,” “if she leaves before I am able to encourage her an opportunity will be lost,” “no one is talking to that visitor I need to get over there.” And all the while, the person before us and the ministry the Lord has given to us in the moment is lost.

The seminary I attended had a chaplain. A comment was made about him that has always stuck with me. It was an offhand comment, but it has often served as a gentle rebuke and forceful encouragement to me. It was one of my professors who made the comment. He recalled a day when he was engaged in conversation with the chaplain. And the president of the seminary entered the room. This president was and is a boisterous and charismatic personality. When he enters the room your attention is drawn to him. And the professor recalled how the president made his way over to them, but the chaplain’s eyes never diverted from the professor. The seminary president stood waiting on the edge of their conversation and only after the chaplain had fully ended the conversation with the professor did he turn to the president. It wasn’t an act of rudeness or power that led the chaplain to keep the president waiting. It was an act of love and true humility. The professor in recalling this story said, “When the chaplain is with you, it is like you are the most important person in the world.” The professor was his field of ministry in that moment. The Lord had drawn them together and he was going to be faithful in that moment.

I wonder how often we miss the ministry before us for the ministry “over there?” How often have we neglected the opportunity we have now, because we think there is something more important that we must do on the other side of the room, back at the office, or on our phone that is ringing? And most importantly, I wonder how often we have hurt our brothers and sisters in Christ or our witness to the love of God, by treating others as insignificant and not worth our attention?

The most important ministry we do as Christians happens in the moment. And that moment is usually unplanned, unforeseen, and unnoticed. Think back over your own Christian life. If I was to ask you, “What were some of the most important encouragements, advice, words you have received in ministry from someone else? What moments have shaped your pursuit of Christ and ministry to others?” Most of us would point to rather “insignificant” moments: a moment when someone offered a short phrase or two—like my professor about this chaplain. Or it isn’t even what they said, but just the way they listened—like the way that chaplain influenced this professor. He just modeled before him love and grace. A love of Christ that is willing to treat the seemingly insignificant as a child of God.


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13 thoughts on “Ministry Before Our Eyes”

  1. tricia says:

    Welcome Jason,very thought provoking post,taken a step further being elderly seems to render one invisible to most people,at our previous Church the minister was always looking over his shoulder,maybe to engage in conversation with someone more visible!Have taken heed, as I am guilty of doing the very same thing.

  2. Mike says:

    Guilty! Thanks for the challenge.

  3. Ross Bebee says:

    A good word. Thank you.

  4. Linda Todd says:

    So very true. I have done this, I have seen others do it and it happens just about every week on Sunday morning. The mind set is; speak to everyone and not grasping the moment and listening to the person who is near. So bad and after this wonderful read, I intend to make sure I am totally dedicated to the person in from of me.

    If we live in the very moment; we will learn something we might not know about God and his love.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Roger says:

    Well…maybe, sometimes. As a Pastor, you often ARE actually “locked” in conversation with a person and need to talk to the person on the other side of the room. Sometimes you have to prioritize or you let your schedule be determined by those who are most determined to talk to you. Of course, I am not advocating rudeness but I’m not sure why we should feel like we are slighting someone one if we actually need or ought to talk to someone else.

  6. Jamie says:

    What a beautiful reminder… May I take that encouragement and allow the Lord to make me more like Him in this area!

  7. Ann Metcalf says:

    Thanks Jason. I need to hear this daily. I can become so focused on other people rather than the ones God has placed before me today. I can be very prideful and sinful when I am not really paying attention to those in front of me. I am convicted. I use Vyrso for ebooks and they have a great ebook called “Gospel Centered Ministry”
    http://vyr.so/tAqfd2

  8. K B says:

    What a wonderful reminder to be “in the moment”–especially for those of us with children at home. Our ministry to our kids (aka “the least of these”) is just as important as bigger, more “radical” things we could be doing for the Kingdom.

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