When I Don’t Feel Like Serving

Matthew 14:13–14 (HCSB)

13 When Jesus heard about it, He withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed Him on foot from the towns. 14 As He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd, felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.

I’m an introvert that loves people. And that often makes working in Christian ministry hard. Minor inconveniences can throw off my emotional cadence, leaving me ready to retreat to quiet and solitude.

Jesus takes me to school here in Matthew 14. He hears about the gruesome execution of John – his relative and partner in ministry – at the hands of Herod, and he just wants to get away to be alone to reflect and pray. What a glimpse of Jesus’ humanity. He shows us a very relatable response to grief and loss with his need for solitude and time alone with God.

But he’s given little time to himself. His ministry follows him everywhere. As soon as he steps off the boat – there they are. The relatable equivalent would be escaping the office only to run into a crowd of church members at Starbucks. And yet Jesus doesn’t put the boat in reverse when he sees needy people waiting for him. He feels compassion for them and heals their sick. (1) He doesn’t fake his care, but instead musters the proper, righteous emotions for the situation. (2) He acts in these peoples’ lives. He shows that he cares, regardless of their motivations.

Brother Pastors, let’s not hide from the mess in front of us. Let’s enter into that mess with Christ-like emotions and care.




Post 5 of 5 on Principles of Cross-Cultural Servanthood

Serving is the ability to relate to people in such a way that their dignity as human beings is affirmed and they are more empowered to live God-glorifying lives.   Servanthood takes different forms, depending on the situation. That is why it can’t be legislated, formulated or scripted in any detail. It is, after all, an attitude that, when embedded within us, finds an appropriate way to express itself in every situation. Read More »


Post 4 of 5 on Principles of Cross-Cultural Servanthood

Working in a cross-cultural setting comes with so many challenges.  Even simple things like shopping, cooking, and running errands become exhaustingly complicated chores. In your home country, these things can almost be accomplished on “autopilot,” but in your new country, you are mentally invested in every outing, conversation, and monetary transaction. Along with mental fatigue, you have to endure a culture that in many ways is very abrasive to your own cultural background. Many days our natural fight or flight mechanisms want to kick in. But getting angry or running away Read More »

Openness and Acceptance

Post 1 of 5 on Principles of Cross-Cultural Servanthood

Those involved in cross-cultural ministry are accustomed to thinking long-term. Everything takes a little longer, moves a little slower. If your desire is to serve others in a cross-cultural setting, you cannot just dive in without understanding the people. But understanding the people that you are ministering to is a life-long process, so where does someone begin? The next three articles outline the six principles that need to be practiced when entering into a new culture.Read More »

Intro to Cross-Cultural Servanthood

There’s this old story about a monkey and a fish. This monkey is sitting up in his tree trying to ride out a terrible storm. The wind is raging, the rain is falling, and the floodwaters are rising. The monkey looks down into the river that runs beneath his tree and sees a fish struggling against the current. The monkey is a very caring monkey, and he wants to help the fish. So, he swings down from his branch scoops the fish up out of the water and places the fish beside him in the tree.

People who are passionate about working in other cultures often rush in to help others and meet needs without knowing how to help effectively. Read More »