I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Philippians 4:12-14
For Christians living a life of discipleship, each day brings with it a new set of challenges, new places to go and an invitation to experience a roller coaster ride of emotions. Being a follower of Jesus is joyous and exciting, yet it is also demanding. Being one that is sent out into the world for mission means giving of self, putting the needs of others before one’s own and being present and able to “walk through the valley” with those who are grieving. Taking up one’s cross of discipleship is not easy; it takes discipline, requires encouragement, and one thing is for sure, no one can live it alone.
In their ministry, Disciples of Jesus are surrounded by people. There is hardly a time when one who is engaged in mission finds themselves totally alone. The very idea that the Church is made up of God’s people who are called, gathered and sent compels us to be with others. Such ministry takes the people of God out into the world where we minister to the neediest among us. We encounter the lost, the lonely, the poor and the hungry. As we go, we tend to their needs and bring to them God’s message of salvation through Christ Jesus. Yet, even as Christians are called to such mission, living such a life takes a toll. Surrounded by people, disciples of Jesus can often find themselves broken and alone.
The painful truth to living as a disciple of Jesus is that we too are sinful human creatures. As we tend to the woundedness of those who surround us, we must also face our own woundedness. Those called to be disciples are confronted with the same challenges of earthly life as everyone else. Neglecting such woundedness weakens our ministry and leads to infection. Confidence, courage and passion can soon give way to apprehension, fear and doubt. Even as disciples use their strengths to minister to the weak, we need the strength of others to help bear our burdens also. This means understanding when it is time to gather at the well.
Broken, tired and weary, we come to the well to be refreshed. The well is a place for Christian worship. It is a place for learning and fellowship. The well is a place where we gather with the people of God in order to share our stories, hear the stories of other disciples and give thanks to the One who calls us to such ministry. At the well we marvel at the good things God has done in the lives of those we encounter and are amazed by our transformation also.
Disciples come to the well to be rejuvenated, encouraged and to have the flame of our passion rekindled through the power of the Holy Spirit. We gather in such a place to confess our brokenness and receive God’s forgiveness. We share our faith and receive encouragement from the faith of others. As God invites us to take our place at the table, we sip from the wellspring of living water which is Christ the Lord. Then, fed and nourished, God sends us into the world, disciples on a mission, people of God living for the sake of others.
God calls his people to be present in the lives of others. God calls us to tend to the neediest and weakest among us, making his grace a present reality in the lives of those who seek him. In order to do so one must first be present; the disciple must be faithful and strong. This begs the question; When do you go to the well? How are you strengthened and refreshed for the sake of your ministry? Don’t neglect to gather with the faithful. Be sure to draw from the wellsprings of faith. In your own woundedness, lay your burdens down at the foot of the cross so that you too may drink the water that gives life.