Those of us who claim the name of Christ must choose again and again between two very distinct courses.
One is to cultivate a small heart. That is the safest way to go because it minimizes the sorrows of life. If our ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the formula is simple: minimize relationships and avoid ministry to others so that we will escape the heartache brought on by loving others well.
But another path is also open to us: the path of developing and embracing an enlarged heart, a heart that will enlarge your life purpose through loving God and others well. Little hearts, though safe and protected, make little advance in the Kingdom. On the other hand, ministering hearts, though vulnerable, are also the hearts that know the most joy and leave the largest imprint on the world. The story of our Lord and the woman at the well gives us insight into the ministering heart. Consider the following characteristics of a ministering heart from John 4.
A Ministering Heart is…
1. A Focused Heart (vv. 1-5)
A ministering heart is focused and obedient to the Spirit’s leading.
2. A Hearing Heart (vv. 1-5)
A ministering heart listens and hears God through prayer, Scripture and Sabbath.
3. A Doing Heart (vv. 1-5)
A ministering heart is a serving heart.
4. A Sacrificing Heart (v. 6)
A ministering heart carries on even when at the edge of capacity.
5. An Overcoming Heart (vv. 7-9)
A ministering heart overcomes racial and social barriers.
6. A Satisfied Heart (vv. 10-15)
A ministering heart is satisfied with Jesus alone.
A ministering heart knows where to find and is refreshed by “living water.”
7. A Worshipping Heart (vv. 19-24)
A ministering heart knows worship is a matter of the heart, not external actions, and is directed by truth rather than ceremony. True worship must bring us into the presence of God.
Our worship of God is directed by our love for Him; as we love, so we worship. To worship God in spirit and truth necessarily involves loving Him with heart, soul, mind and strength.
8. A Believing Heart (vv. 25-27)
A ministering heart believes and follows Jesus.
9. A Generous Heart (v. 28)
A ministering heart is a heart filled with generosity.
10. A Loving Heart (vv. 29-30)
A ministering heart loves God and others, makes disciples and lives sent.
Learn more about prayer, ministry, soul care, and servant leadership to individuals and groups at the 2022 Pinnacle Alabama @ Shocco conference on August 5-6.
State Missionary Steve Layton serves as the lead strategist for groups in the Office of Sunday School & Discipleship. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 2221, or (334) 613-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org.