How to Serve in Crazy Situations

Don’t Be Distracted By the Disasters

Mark Ballenger

Luke 10:17-20

If you were to walk into the ER doctors’ break room, you might be surprised at how calm and casual these men and women are who have just been in life and death situations. Eating food, reading the comics, laughing about something one of the nurses said, only to then step back out to treat a life-threatening gun wound. It might seem an odd thing to look into a bunker full of soldiers at war playing a game of cards before the next mission. To watch a crime scene investigator sip his coffee as he approaches a murder scene might be a bit chilling to the average citizen.

From the perspective of those on the outside looking in, it may seem that people like this have grown callous. And perhaps there is some of that. But to those on the front lines, they know that they would not want to do battle with the rookies, civilians, and other novices so shocked and emotionally struck that they lose focus of the tasks at hand.

Would you really want a surgeon who was as horrified at your wound as you are? Would you really want an army of men with the same fear in their eyes as you when you are confronted with a real enemy shooting back at you? Those who lose focus of the mission at hand are those who are overwhelmed in the heat of the moment.

Being Shocked By Sin Doesn’t Help

To be a good Christian worker, pastor, counselor, or lay leader, we must get over the shock value of sin and remain focused on the mission – proclaiming the work of Jesus Christ. To the church member who has never been confronted with the raw details of a husband cheating on a wife with the neighbor, that member may be surprised at how unimpressed the old pastor is when he hears the details and points those involved back to repentance, reconciliation, and to Jesus.

The sign of a novice is nervousness. To be shocked or flabbergasted by the evils of this world proves that one has not had much exposure to ministering to real sinners. The point is to stay sensitive, not growing bitter and calloused, but to also be unimpressed with the details of sin so that we might not lose focus of the real mission – pointing sinners to Christ.

Additionally, those who are unfit for heavy ministry are those who are easily overwhelmed and cannot go on in the normal affairs of life once the battle is over. Surgeons need to be able to leave the operating room and then go eat their left over spaghetti dinner in the break room because if they were to become so engrossed in their patients needs that they could no longer function normally, they would become useless to their patients.

If the soldier cannot leave the firefight mentally he will be less the warrior once he is called back to the fight physically. Christians must not be so overawed with sin that once exposed to the evil effects of it, they cannot mentally let it all go.

The pastor, counselor, or church member who becomes overwhelmed with the needs of those they serve (to the point where they can’t relax and stop thinking about it) will be less useful the more overwhelmed they become. The thought of sin and the hurt it creates must grieve us, but it must not overtake our lives to such a degree that the main focus becomes sin itself.

God Is Unimpressed By Sin

We can all take comfort in how unimpressed God is with the horrors of the world and how singularly focused he remains on saving it. He is anything but hardened to the need for healing. He is not cynical or hopeless when evil is exposed. He’s seen if from the beginning, he knows what is truly in a man, and thus he alone is able to best assess the right course of action in the most chaotic of sinful situations to lead people to his Son.

Sin saddens the heart of God, but it does not shock him. Let us, too, not be overcome with sorrow and emotion to such a degree that we are of no use to our brothers and sisters dealing with the rawness of real sin.

We must not get sidetracked with the joys or horrors that revolve around what truly matters, Jesus Christ. For he has said, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In other words, don’t be distracted by the demons, the disasters, the destruction, or even the joy of healing, but remain focused on your relationship with Christ which will last for eternity and produce an everlasting joy itself.

To focus on anything else as the main point other than Christ is to lose focus of the mission.

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