Recently I visited a man I have known many years. He was a Vice President with a mission agency and his responsibilities were primarily over building projects around the globe. Upon retirement from the agency, he started his own non-profit. After learning what each of us were involved in, he was interested in some of our projects. This meeting was set up for the purpose of introducing him to a few projects.
I shared about the vision and the need for each of the projects and he countered with a variety of questions that needed to be asked as well as advice and encouragement on the project. After we both seemed satisfied with the answers, he offered to take on the projects and thanked me as we began to part ways.
I sat a little bewildered for a few moments. Hopefully he didn’t notice. But my first thought was, “Shouldn’t I have been the one to say thank you?” I had a long drive after that, which gave me plenty of time to ponder that interaction.
Certainly, it was appropriate for me to show gratitude. It impacted me greatly that he was the first to offer thanks. You see, the fact is, he is also in ministry, a ministry that builds buildings of different sorts. In order for him to accomplish his ministry, he needs to seek out like minded ministries that can accommodate his ministry vision. He doesn’t build buildings for the sake of building, he does it so he can carry out the Great Commission in the way he is equipped. He has learned a trade, a specialty, he has honed it for decades, he is a master of his trade, and he uses it to the glory of God, and we have offered him the right place to do it. In this, he plays his part in making sure people’s lives are transformed. For this he gives thanks.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. I John 1:1-4 KJV
Apparently, we have a lot of experience too. Those of us who know Jesus as our Savior and have heard His message, seen His works, have touched the work of His hands… we have more than enough experience. Having these experiences, isn’t it just natural that we too would put all that experience to one thing, “to declare unto others?” How could we not? How could we know what we know and not want others to join in, fellowship with us, be in fellowship with our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t this just be natural? In fact, more than just natural, it makes our joy complete to make others joy full.
I thought of how John in this letter recognizes and acknowledges why he writes, something we can too easily forget in the busyness of doing ministry, and that is why we do it. How often do we concentrate on the task so much that we completely overlook the motivation?
We do those things we have been gifted to do to serve Him, so that other people’s lives might be full, complete. So that the joy they were created to have could be accomplished, only through the knowledge provided by the series of gifts employed, to ensure those that do communicate, in word or in written form, have all the tools and resources at their disposal. So that together, we carry out the Great Commission, together we give thanks for the part we play in the process.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes, Jr.
President / CEO
January 5, 2022