By: Ben Boruff
I don’t like coffee. I will occasionally order a flavored coffee beverage at Starbucks or a local café, but coffee isn’t my favorite source of caffeine. My first experience with plain coffee was at a conference in Texas where I was exhausted. During a break one day I followed the herd of coffee-drinkers to the caffeinated watering hole and filled a cup with plain coffee. I took a sip, winced, and then grabbed three packets of sugar and two packages of creamer to add to my beverage. Despite my dislike of the beverage, I realize that I may be in the minority as many people get their “caffeine fix” from coffee.
People like to move both with and without caffeine. We like to do things, and we typically prefer to do them quickly. Many pharmacies now have drive-through windows to make filling prescriptions quicker. Even now, as I am typing this, I am sitting in my car outside of Panera Bread listening to an oldies radio station because I didn’t want to spend time going inside to set up my laptop. I understand that not all people are like me, but recent societal shifts point to the idea that we like to move as much as possible.
What if we could use some of that energy for ministry? What if we could move as quickly in ministry as we do in other areas? Ministering to the hurt, the needy, and the lost is a difficult task, requiring a lot of energy. If we could somehow harness the energy that drives us socially and in our careers, we could do wonderful things in our communities.
On the other hand, ministry takes time. Ministry, in some cases, is more like growing a plant than scrambling an egg, taking time and nurture. Sometimes, I want to change the world so badly that I advocate for change without doing my homework. In these cases, I often discover unforeseen problems and difficulties.
But that shouldn’t be a deterrent from doing and creating ministry in the world today, now, at this moment. In fact, it seems to fuel my determination. Knowing that some ministries take time forces me to take action now. It’s like cooking a good chicken noodle soup: Sure, I could open up a can of generic soup and—voila!—have some soup, but I prefer my grandma’s soup. She makes the noodles and broth from scratch, adds quality chicken, and then lets it simmer for a good while. Sipping on grandma’s soup is a delightful experience. And here’s the key: I know that my grandma wastes no time getting the soup ready when we’re coming over.
We need both urgency and a nurturing spirit in ministry. We need to get ministries started so they have time to grow. We need to move, now, at this moment; then we need to nurture, watch, and experience. There are many needs to fill in the world. And so my question: Why wait?
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