October 3, 2011

Think Outside the Box

When thinking about the perfect friend, a woman may wish that God would provide an Anne of Green Gables-style kindred spirit for her. If her ministry takes her to a place like China or rural North America, she might give up hope of finding that special friend. God calls women to these places, and He will provide exactly the kind of people she needs.

Think beyond the A+ student. As much as I admire the brilliant among us, they are not always aware of the needs of others. On the other hand, many less learned women can cut through facades and diagnose the real problem. My friend Mary struggled through school, but she is sharp at detecting what is in a person's heart.  "A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out." Proverbs 28:11. C- students keep me honest in ministry.

Think outside the Christian community. God can use outsiders in my life for His purposes. The Christian author, Rebecca Manley Pippert, once told the story about feeling weary from ministry and stopping by her non-Christian friends' apartment. After listening to her concerns, one of them said, "It is okay, Becky, God will let you have the day off." That is just what she needed to hear. "Moses' father-in-law said to him, 'What you are doing is not good. You are not able to do it alone.' " Exodus 18: 17, 18b.  Outsiders point out blind spots in my ministry life.

Think above/below your age and social group.  I have self-absorbed moments where I feel that I am the only one with struggles. Then, I meet a Christian woman who is younger or older, richer or poorer, or not involved in full-time ministry, and I see that we all have temptations. But, more importantly, we are all blessed. "And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit." Ephesians 2: 17, 22. Christians who are in a different situation make me realize that we are on this journey together, and the destination is beyond our wildest dreams.

I learn a lot from those who are average, outsiders or different from me. When I am willing to think outside the kindred spirit "box," I am surprised that the acquaintances God brings my way are, indeed, perfect for me.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for highlighting what I perceive as a common problem in ministry: selectively welcoming only the "glamorous" people. We are drawn to people who are pretty, well-mannered, and have common interests to us. But, when we only pursue these people, we are missing out. If we take our cues from Christ's outside-the-box friendships, we just might be blessed by hidden treasures in the process!


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