I don’t know about you, but I love ministry. There is nothing I enjoy more than pouring myself out for God’s glory, and seeing Him work in the lives of others. It’s humbling, and inspiring. Every day in my personal prayer time, I find myself asking God to open more doors for ministry and opportunities to share His love.
In my mind, I’m usually envisioning traveling to speak for a women’s event or an evangelistic service at a church. For so many of us actively involved in ministry, we can sometimes begin to get tunnel vision. At least, that seems to be my case. I often pray for God to use me, but then when He is trying His best to do that, I sometimes am distracted, busy, or just not listening.
The other day, I was grocery shopping. Let me just interject that I hate grocery shopping—no matter when it is—but when the store is packed full of people frantically trying to finish their holiday shopping, I really hate it.
So, here I was attempting this maddening scavenger hunt to find all the items on my list. I became frustrated and anxious to get out of the store. I stopped at the end of the aisle to check a couple of items off my list. When I looked up, I noticed a lady reaching for the nearest shelf to try and steady herself. She looked as if she might faint. People were scurrying past her, paying no attention, while others looked irritated because she had stopped in front of them.
I approached her, and taking her arm to steady her, I asked, “Ma’am, are you OK?” She looked at me, and said “Yes, I think so. I just have really bad back pain, and it is hurting so much right now, it’s almost making me sick.” Without a second thought, I asked, “Can I pray for you?”
She totally lit up. She looked at me with the most precious expression of love on her face, and said, “Yes, absolutely. That would be wonderful.” With her permission, I placed my hand on her back, and began to pray for God to touch her and heal her. As I continued to pray for her, I was no longer aware of the busy crowd around us. Everything and everyone just ceased to exist in that moment.
God had opened a door for ministry. Amidst all the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping, He had sent someone to pray for this sweet lady in her time of need. When I finished praying, she smiled at me, hugged me, and said, “Thank you so much!” I asked her if I could help her finish shopping, and with a big smile on her face, she said, “No, thank you. I am just fine now.”
She grabbed the items she had laid on the shelf, wished me a good day, and before I knew it she was halfway to the check-out. Pushing my cart down the next aisle, I began to thank God for the ability to do my shopping. I thanked Him for the opportunity to minister to someone in need, and I thanked Him for the open door.
All open doors do not look the same. Some open doors may be invitations to speak at big, grand venues in front of hundreds of people. That is great, and I love those opportunities! But some doors are seemingly small encounters, where He has put us in the right place at just the right time to be His hand extended to someone in need.
Personally, at times I have received bigger blessings, and a greater sense of His presence by just being obedient in the small things. We don’t have to view ministry as something that can only happen in a big church setting, or in a huge stadium. God longs to use us in big ways every day! We just have to be willing to look around us, listen for the Holy Spirit, and be obedient.
I can almost feel Him smiling down at me in these quiet little encounters. Every time I have one of these little “miracle moments,“ I’m reminded of something a beautiful friend, and popular women’s minister said to me years ago. She told me “Donna, God trusts you to be available for Him. He knows He can count on you, and that is no small honor!”
He trusts me! Wow, to think that the God of the entire universe trusts me to be there when He needs me! There could be no greater compliment or calling. Many times we tend to view our worth or value based on the invitations we receive to speak at large venues, or for large congregations. But, we have to look at the bigger picture. Does He trust us to be available when He needs us? If we can answer “yes,” that is a huge honor!
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.