Spirit & Truth # 231
By Rev. Greg Smith
Don’t get me wrong—I love my job. And I’m glad to help—really, I am. I consider it a calling and a delight to be able to minister to people’s needs in times of conflict or stress or suffering. Taking care of people is what I do.
But what gets me are the Christians who think it takes a professional in order to help someone. “Pastor, my sister’s having a hard time with her uncontrollable teenage son, and she really needs someone to straighten him out.” I reply, “I’d be happy to talk with him,” but I think, “Is he really more likely to listen to me, or is he more likely to listen to the Christians in his life who know him and love him?”
Again, please don’t misunderstand. Just like I’m glad to help those in need, your pastor is, too. That’s why he or she has been called into ministry. But you don’t have to be an expert to help someone. Not long ago, I was delighted to find one of my church members giving away food from our church’s pantry—without asking me for help, and without asking for authorization from our food pantry managers. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Every believer is anointed by God with a special gift, an ability to help those in need. Pastors are glad to help, but don’t let their willingness become an excuse for your inactivity. God calls every believer to help the helpless, feed the hungry, console the hurting, and give grace to the sinner.
When He ministered in Nazareth, Jesus read the passage from Isaiah that said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2a).” “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:19-20).’”
Jesus’ words upset his audience because they understood his claim to be the Messiah. For them, the things Isaiah talked about were the Messiah’s job description—and they didn’t think Jesus was equal to the task. They didn’t think that they themselves were qualified either. That was the job of a professional.
The hangup of the Nazarenes continues today. Too often we think that these things—proclaiming the Gospel, giving liberty to captives, healing, helping the oppressed, and declaring God’s favor—are the jobs of professionals only. We forget that God has anointed all believers to do the same things that Jesus did. Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” If you’re a Christian, then the same can be said for you. You are anointed to minister. You are anointed to serve. Don’t wait for the professionals to do it—walk in your anointing!