From the desk of… “Presence”

By Sharron Hudson, Colonel

In our busy day-to-day life, sometimes it’s difficult to just “be” and not “do.” What do I mean by that? We are called to spend quality time with the Lord in quiet, reading his Word, listening for his instructions for our lives. Psalm 37:7 says:

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed

in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

And the Lord says to us through Psalm 46:10:

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.

As a result of following the Lord’s instruction we are then able to fulfill our calling to “do the most good” for the people and communities that he has entrusted to us. When we sit before the presence of the Lord, we are refreshed and renewed by his word to us. The result is then to live the “ministry of presence” to those people in our lives—in our homes, work, neighborhood, corps and community.

In the gospels we read of the way Jesus spent time with people. First we read of him taking the time to be alone with his heavenly Father. Then he fulfilled his ministry and mission by his presence with his disciples, the people in the various towns he passed through and with friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He focused on the individual—the Samaritan woman at the well, Zacchaeus, the woman who touched the hem of his garment, the blind, the lame the demon-possessed—all of these people experienced Jesus Christ’s presence in their lives and were changed!

Henri Nouwen speaks of the “ministry of presence” in this way:

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems.

“My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”

Where do you live? Who are the people with whom you come into contact? How do you share the love of Jesus with them?

First, take the time alone with the Lord to listen to his voice and follow his word—then go out into the world and don’t miss the opportunities the Lord places before you to share the “ministry of presence.”

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