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Serving in Ministry

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winter 2020

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Water is easy for those of us living in first-world countries to take for granted. Those who don’t have the luxury of simply turning a spigot to access water understand that water is life. Without it, life would cease to exist. 

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The Israelites understood that all too well, which is why God uses water as a metaphor when stressing how important it is for believers to maintain their connection with Him. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jer. 17:7-8).

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Our connection to God gives us access to Living Water (John 7:38), which allows us to thrive and bear fruit even during times of hardship or drought. If we neglect our relationship with Him, as Jeremiah warned, we replace the “spring of living water” with leaky “cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:13). We are left broken and lifeless.

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There’s a common aphorism in pop psychology: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Most of the time it’s used in reference to self-care—which is important—but for Christians, “filling our cup” doesn’t just mean taking some “me” time to recharge our batteries, it means plugging into the ultimate Power Source—the Holy Spirit.

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The Bible also uses the water metaphor when talking about serving in ministry. When impressing upon the Israelites that justice and mercy are more important to God than sacrifices and fasts, the prophet Isaiah reminded them that if they share their bread with the hungry and bring the homeless into their own homes, they “will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isa. 58:11b). And in Proverbs we find: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25, ESV).

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As Christians in ministry, we all know the importance of filling our own cup so that the Holy Spirit can spill over to those we minister to. But these passages demonstrate that the water flows both ways. Just as we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit before ministering to others, ministering to others opens us up to being filled by the Holy Spirit. It becomes a cycle: Be filled to be a blessing to others; be a blessing to others in order to be filled.

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Whether you are serving in overseas missions, in local church ministry or as a pastor’s wife, we want to help you tap into the “spring of living water.” Just Between Us (JBU) offers resources on ministry life, including leadership advice, handling conflicts and managing stress, tips for women’s ministry and evangelism, and finding ministry life balance. We hope you’ll be refreshed!

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