"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me'. Mathew 25:40
Many people amongst us need us to visit them. They could be the aged in homes, the sick in hospitals or at home or just those that are imprisoned. Everyone needs love and as Christians we need to up our game and do that which Christ commissioned us. In these places are lost souls that need salvation. Jesus Christ is the epitome of visitation as a ministry and he showed us by example that we too should visit those that need comfort.
We all face challenges in life, those that have to do with bereavements, loss to theft, sickness or loss of trust when our spouses wander away from our marriages. As a result we all need encouragement at some point in our lives.
The church should be the one place that smiles are brought back to the faces of people because it is not a sorrowful place. No matter what a person is going through, we must be able to encourage him and let him see that he will get through the challenge. God promises in 1Peter 5:10 that He himself will restore us after we have suffered a little. Commitment to a ministry such as this, that dispels hopelessness and encouragement, calls for several things.
Firstly is availability; that we may always respond when called upon. It cost Christ his life to save us so we too must be willing to forgo something to serve his children. We cannot serve God at our own convenience. We must be willing to give something up in the time that we are called upon to visit the sick in hospitals or homes, give counseling to the hurting or simply to volunteer our services in old people's homes. We should be willing to give something up and create time for ministry because God will reward us. 1Corinthians 15:58 asks us to give ourselves fully because our labor will not be in vain. The enemy will try to cause disappointments and bring obstacles to stop us from serving in God's vineyard. We must however strive to downplay his trickery.
Secondly, love and compassion are key components for this ministry. In Mathew 9:36, 20:34,Mark 1:41 we encounter Christ's great compassion and love for the hurting. and this should give us direction on how we too must be empathetic. When we see a person looking sad in church, we should try and find out what is brewing underneath and see if we can help or refer them elsewhere for help. Impatience, rudeness, lack of concern, anger and service out of duty are attributes that we cannot hide, sooner or later people will know that we are not genuinely concerned about them.
Thirdly is the need for excellence and perfection; that we always minister by example. Our performance should always tally with what we profess in our ministry. Do we believe what we preach to those we share with or are we like signposts that direct others to heaven but fail to move with them that way?
Fourthly, we should be well equipped for what we are doing. Not only should we be conversant and knowledgeable about the bibles that we carry but also continuously pray for discernment concerning our ministry and about how to help those we come across. Jesus stayed with his disciples and trained them for three years yet he still encouraged prayer; that they continuously pray and not take their association with him for granted. Prayers in a ministry of encouragement are a prerequisite because we are in the realms of spiritual warfare. The devil is never ready to release those whom he holds captive in sickness, discouragement and depression so we must continuously engage in prayer because through Jesus Christ, all things are possible.
'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me , I was in orison and you came to visit me". Mathew25:35-36
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.