The Ugly Side of Ministry

Ministry is hard work. When the decision is made to work in the ministry full-time, one realizes that ministry is really dirty work. Emotions get involved. One’s compassion is pushed to its limits. One’s heart is broken on a regular basis, by negative actions and by situations that are beyond one’s control.
It is now 10:55 pm. I just left the house of one of my clients. He is a single father of 3 and he has custody of his children. He called me because he was home alone, in the dark, because his electricity has been turned off for non-payment. And that broke my heart.
He is a former big-time drug dealer that has chosen to leave the street life, and he has begun to live the life of a normal citizen. He has decided to put the well being of his family before his own selfish motives. But that good decision has left him in the dark, with his children living down the street with a relative.
I pulled up to the house and it was completely dark. The lights in the house are off, but the street lights near his house have been knocked out as well. He came to the door with his head down in shame. He began to explain to me how the relative that was helping him to pay the bills because he has chosen to leave the drugs alone has asked that he pay half of the bill. He worked for a few days and she knew he was getting a paycheck. The problem is the pay check was not large enough to pay his half of the light bill.
We sat and talked and he shared more with me tonight than he ever has. He really opened up. I tried my best to encourage him, but I knew that after I left, his lights would still be out. He asked me if I could assist him with the bill. I gave him what I could, but it was not enough. The gesture proved to him that LifeLine is really a ministry that attempts to address every aspect of its client’s lives.
While my heart was breaking because he was in the dark, I was encouraged because he decided it would be better to be in the dark than to get a sack of drugs and sell them to pay the electric bill. He has chosen to sit in the dark. He has decided that living as a law abiding citizen is more important than breaking the law to meet his needs. I was so proud of him!
Reentry training works. It is possible to teach a person that is living a life of crime how to change their way of thinking and become a positive, productive citizen. The road to that end is rough and ugly and hard. Success means that an individual may have to suffer loss and swallow pride. Success means that the value of living right outweighs the effects of current circumstances. Pray for us as we work with our clients. LifeLine is a 24 hour, 365 days a year support system for its clients.
Pastor Brown