As you may know, every Thursday evening we have been holding a Christianity Explored study. Christianity Explored is a study through the book of Mark. As of this week everyone should have read the first 8 chapters. There are some amazing stories and truths that we have already talk about in the study. The course answers the 3 questions, Who is Jesus? Why did he come and live as a man? And what does it look like to follow Him?
This past Thursday was our fourth meeting. This week's topic was Christ's death. What it was, how He died, why He died, and what was the response to His death. Most Thursdays I spend several hours preparing for the study, since I am the "leader". CE is produced by an English organization and for the past several years Czech believers have been translating the study into Czech and dubbing the videos into the Czech language as well. Unfortunately, since that time the English version has been updated. Consequently the English version and Czech versions do not match up so well. My plan was to compare the two in order to understand the Czech version faster. Since I cannot do that, I spend more time preparing. First I watch the English video so that I get the context of what is being taught. I then watch the Czech version twice so that I get a good understanding of what is being taught. It gives me a chance to stop, rewind and catch things I miss. I then go through the preview of the lesson and the questions. I look up new words and phrases and write my own answers in Czech.
Since this Thursday was about Christ's death I wanted to make sure I was really prepared. Every meeting so far one couple has regularly attended. She is a new believer and her boyfriend is open to learning about Christ and what a relationship with Him looks like.
Every week Michelle bakes muffins, or some kind of desert. Instead of eating a meal together at CE, we have coffee and desert. So here I was, Thursday afternoon, loaded with the Word of God, an evangelistic message and of course the muffins. On my way to the church I received a phone call, the couple who has been coming are not coming tonight. Their daughter is sick. What a utter let down. My first thought was, great, I just spent my whole afternoon preparing for nothing! But did I?
When we spend time in the Word of God, it will never be a waste of time; and or me, anytime I spend in the Czech language it is always profitable. Was I discouraged, of course, but just for a moment.
Let me explain why.
When we serve God we must have the right mindset, we must have the correct motivations. This ministry we are in is never about us, or how much time we have spent doing something. This ministry is about serving God. I was diligent and prepared the lesson, It is not my responsibility to make sure people show up. I cannot control sickness, I cannot control if people want to come. The only thing I can control is how I prepare for the opportunity, and how I respond to the situations I face. I didn't spend those hours preparing for my sake, I spent them because that was the opportunity in front of me. I am disappointed that they didn't get to hear the Gospel, I an not disappointed I spent the afternoon working on a lesson I will most-like have to prepare for again next week.
As it turned out, the second lady from the first meeting came with her husband. Since they had missed the second and third meeting, we condensed the two and caught them up so that everyone will be prepared and ready for the fourth lesson, Christ's death. So instead of just one person who would of heard the gospel message this past Thursday evening, there will now be the possibility of three people who will, Lord willing, be prepared to hear the Gospel message next Thursday.
Ministry is not easy, ministry is the Czech republic is especially hard (stay tuned for an upcoming bold post on that topic). We serve out of a love and obedience for God. I am/we are not important. But God has chosen to use us to bring His message to those who have not heard. He has chosen to use us to teach His own. That is our opportunity, that is what we work towards.