Matthew 15:21-28 -So Wrapped Up In Ministry That We Forget To Minister

Posted: January 7, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus Sends a Demon Out of a Girl

This passage is so very full of information that we will spend three blogs here. It presents three things that we need to discuss. First, there is the issue of being so wrapped up in ministry that we forget to minister. Second, we need to talk about whether Jesus was contradicting his own message in this passage. Finally, we will take about having faith to do whatever it takes. So, today let’s talk about getting wrapped up in ministry. Let’s see what this passage has to say to us today. In Matthew 15:21-28, we read:

 

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

 

Has your life become so busy that you become a slave to your schedule? It can be particularly true if you are a highly involved Christ follower within the fellowship of your church. Take me, for example. I work a full-time secular job and I work part-time at my church. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I work at the church, I work from 8am-12pm at the church and then work 12:30pm-8:30pm at my secular job. On Mondays, I typically go to the Ironmen men’s ministry meeting from 6:30pm to 8:30pm after I get off work at my secular job. On Wednesdays, my wife and I host and I lead our small group that meets at our house. Usually, that meeting lasts from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. On Sunday, we are busy of course with church in the mornings, usually eat Sunday after church with someone from church, and then after a break of a few hours, we attend a life group that we do not lead or host. In that life group, we do not lead. We are the led. As you can see that most weeks, the only nights that are truly free from any set activity is Friday and Saturday night. Particularly, on Friday night, Elena and I just spend time together. It is our quiet time after a busy week. We just typically do nothing…together. It is a busy life. Sometimes if feels like when we get up on Monday, it is like jumping on to an express train that doesn’t make a stop until we get to Friday. With my busy schedule, it makes me wonder whether I am so wrapped up in my “work work” , as I call my secular job, and my “church work”, as I call my job at my church, and the general busy-ness of our church life that I forget to see the world around me. I feel like I should be saving the world and evangelizing the world but too busy.

We see the same idea from the disciples of Jesus when they were in what is now known as Lebanon in the cities of Tyre and Sidon. The disciples were puzzled by Jesus’ silence toward the Gentile woman in this scene. Taking it that He was too busy for this woman, they asked Him to send her away. I don’t think the woman was bothering Jesus but the disciples were bothered by her incessant begging. They showed no compassion for her or any sensitivity to her needs. It is possible for us to become so occupied with the busy-ness of church that we become oblivious to the needs of the world around us. Many of us can shelter ourselves within our circle of church friends that the world out there is only a conceptual thing. This may be especially true if we are prejudiced against needy people especially when they cause us inconvenience. Instead of being annoyed, we need to be aware of the fact that there is a world out there.

I think there are two lessons that we must take away from the disciples reaction and from my own illustration. First, we must recognize that there is a world out there that is suffering. There are needs around us that we don’t even see sometimes because we get so wrapped up in being busy. We Americans work more than any other industrialized country in the world. When we are not working, we find ways to fill that time whether it is with church, entertainment, travel, you name it. We speed through life and insulate ourselves in our own little worlds. We ignore the needs of the world around us because it does not work into our plan. We are too busy to help. We are too busy to stop. We are too busy to give a helping hand to a person who needs it. We insulate ourselves in our own little world. We become like the white man living in the suburbs who has the fine job and the fine house and virtually all of his friends are white. To him, he cannot understand why people say there is a race problem in our country. When we insulate ourselves in our own little world, we can make ourselves believe that the world is right and ignore the real needs in the world. Let us be a people that is sensitive to the world around us and not see it as a distraction or an annoyance but rather as ministry opportunities.

The second thing we need to take away is that we must not just write off our work time and our play time as “not available for ministry.” God has us in our jobs and our personal pursuits to be kingdom makers. Just because we clock in at work does not mean we check out on ministry opportunities. My “work work” and “church work” are ministry opportunities to set examples for others, to teach others about the depth our love for Jesus Christ, to love on others as Jesus loves them. Every moment is a moment to be used for the kingdom. At my “work work”, I can be a shining example of the integrity and servant leadership of a Christian man. Although we have to be careful at work how we go about witnessing, but we can seize opportunities to demonstrate why we have faith and how that affects how we work. At my “church work” I can use my opportunities to lead and to teach and to be led and to learn. God is using this time to make me a better minister. No time is wasted. No time is not an opportunity to see God in it. Let us be a people that does not check out on Christ just because we are working or are busy. He should be the thread that runs through all our days and all our time in those days. Let us not be a people that puts Jesus in a box that we pull out and play with when we are not working or playing. Let us be a people who are missionaries all the time – at work, at home, at play.

Amen and Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s