How are you ministering in His name? When you give your tithes and offerings to the church you support physical-needs ministries in that way. I like to meet folks and hear about their dreams for their ministry. More and more I am asking the question: "Don't just tell me who to write the check to. Tell me how people can be involved directly, personally, with meeting the needs of others."

I know churches don't want to simply write checks to ministries but want to minister a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. We want to be a place that heals as we help build homes and tear down walls of racial division. We want to be a place that lives out what God told His people through Micah: "With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:6-8).

How many today, in the quietness of your heart, will commit to bringing your heart and your hands, to bringing the first fruits of your increase, to bringing the gifts that God has given you, to help others in the name of Jesus?

Conclusion

Friends, don't let anybody "get your goat." To be a true believer is to be in ministry, to be about the good works that God has given us to do. These good works require God's grace. Good works reflects Christ's ministry. And these good works realize Christ's mission. What a powerhouse of a passage! Saved by grace. Saved unto good works.

The other night, the telephone rang. Not unusual, except that it was late. When my wife answered the phone and said, "Oh, hi Mary!" I knew who it was. It was late and I was tired, but I knew I would be on the phone for a good while.

Mary was one of the original members who came to form our core group for our church in Kansas. She and her husband were faithful friends and went out to share the gospel with me, ushered, set up chairs, gave and gave and gave and labored in so many ways. They started our outreach and assimilation plan by showing good works to visitors. Our First Touch Ministries8 was really based on their commitment to show Christ's mercy to others. Her husband was our treasurer, and many times we went to the Lord on our knees to ask Him to supply our needs to continue that ministry—and God always supplied. They were real models of good works.

About four years ago, he died. And she has had a hard time. So she calls me every now and then. We always talk about the same thing. We talk about her husband and about how hard it is and how faithful Christ is.

I always tell her that she has the right to miss him. And then she will say, "Why, that's right. God does give me the right to cry."

And I say, yes. And so it goes each and every time she calls. I was still talking to Mary long after Mae and John Michael were in bed. At first, I felt tired. But the more we talked and prayed, the more I felt like I was right where I should be. I felt the power of Christ flowing in me. And Mary told me that she did, too. All of a sudden I realized: I was meant for that time in my life to be Christ to Mary, just like for so long Mary and her husband were Christ to me. Then I came to see that Mary was not an interruption in my evening. She was the reason for my life at that moment.

I wonder, do you see the physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs of people around you as interruptions in your spiritual life or as invitations to show the love of Jesus that He has shown you?

You were made for ministry. And the words of a newer hymn in the church sums it up:

Let your heart be broken for a world in need; feed the mouths that hunger, soothe the wounds that bleed, give the cup of water and the loaf of bread—be the hands of Jesus, serving in His stead.

Blessed to be a blessing, privileged to care, challenged by the need—apparent everywhere. Where mankind is wanting fill the vacant place; be the means through which the Lord reveals His grace. 9

1. Charles Hodge, Ephesians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, first published 1916, 1991 reprint), 57-58.
2. See The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XVI, Section 7.
3. The Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations, ed. Martin H. Mansere (Louisville, KY: Westminster-John Knox Press, 2001).
4. "poi/hma, poieœma, n. [4472]. what is made, workmanship, creation" in NIV Greek Concordance (6.1.2) (Accordance, 2004 [cited 2004]).
5. John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1990), 401.
6. The Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations.
7. John 10:22-23 states, "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch."
8. The outreach and assimilation discipleship plan I wrote and used.
9. Bryan Jeffrey Leach, "Let Your Heart Be Broken" in The Trinity Hymnal (Atlanta: Great Commission Publications, 1998 Seventh Edition), 595.