It is common to say, when you are doing some kind of charity or ministry work, that your ability is less important than your availability – but that’s not always true. Ministry should be done with some quality, and the effects can be harmful when someone can’t handle their responsibilities.
I remember running into a useless ministry in college when I was getting into my truck to start the long drive home for the holidays. As I got in, I noticed a note on my windshield that said that a local ministry had come by to clean my windshield so that I would have a safer drive home. I loved it. I hate dirty windshields, and I was very glad to have someone else clean it for a change. I got in my vehicle and started driving toward the sun…
…and I couldn’t see a darned thing.
I should have known. Most of the kids from my college had never worked a day in their life (people in the dorms would say things like, “My lightbulb burned out in my room, so I think I should call my parents for help.”), and they certainly didn’t know how to clean off a window. Whoever got around to my truck had smeared the dirt around so that I couldn’t see very well. I had to stop at the first gas station to clean it off myself – properly.
Unfortunately, it would have been better for all of us if those people had not decided to “minister” to us. As I cleaned my windshield, I wondered if anyone was going to get into a wreck because of a local ministry that “helped out” by making the windows of our cars useless.
As a rule of thumb, if you don’t know what you are doing then you’re better off staying in bed. Of course, anyone can help out at a soup kitchen or a place that collects and sorts clothing for the needy – many of these tasks require no special skills or experience. And most people are better at certain things than others, so find out what you can do and let that be your focus.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)