|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Steadfast and immovable”
Our Bible verse for today: “Now when Job’s three friends … heard about this adversity that had happened to him, each of them came from his home. They met together to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. They wept aloud, and each man tore his robe and threw dust into the air and on his head. Then they sat on the ground with him seven days and nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw that his suffering was very intense.” Job 2:11-13 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The ministry of presence”
Yesterday we learned an important lesson from the example of Job regarding being steadfast and immovable in the midst of pain and suffering. Today I want to return to his story because there’s another important lesson for us to learn, this one from the example of his three friends.
Overall, Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, handled themselves pretty badly. For most of the story we find them being critical of Job and unkind and unsympathetic. In the end, God gives them a pretty good dressing down for it. But they actually started out well. As we read in 2:11-13 (above), initially they were very empathic. They grieved for Job and with Job; they entered into his suffering and they simply sat with him as he suffered and grieved. That’s what we call “the ministry of presence”. We bless and help someone simply by being with them – showing them our love and support as they go through a tough time.
The ministry of presence is a powerful thing. Just being there communicates how much you care. Sometimes it may involve words of sympathy and comfort, but often there’s really not much that can be said – or which should be said. Sometimes words get in the way (Job’s friends were at their best when they were silent. It was when they started talking that they became a problem).
The ministry of presence can also include doing helpful chores for the person. While they’re dealing with their grief maybe you can wash their car, or mow the lawn, or cook a meal, or do the dishes. Better yet, maybe you can do those things with them so they are engaged in an activity that helps to take their mind off of their grief for a while.
Through the ministry of presence we bless someone by letting them know “I’m here for you and I will continue to be here for you as long as you need me.” Let them know they can count on you no matter what. Be steadfast and immovable in your support for them.
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