As I walked down the steps I had a flashback to 1982. Lori and I were newlyweds and had just moved to our studio apartment on campus. That summer I took a job on the grounds crew at school and learned how to strip and wax the floors in the halls and classrooms of my seminary. I also learned how to clean the bathrooms and how to clean the carpets. I did a little bit of everything that summer.
I thought of that today as I returned to the seminary for a two day conference. That summer on the grounds crew was every bit as important to my education as the classes I took over the next two and half years. They grounded me and reminded me that ministry has to be practical if it is to be any use to the people I would serve.
We can talk about the love of God. We can preach about the need for salvation. But if the people in the neighborhood around the church are hungry and homeless, then the words will fall on deaf ears. Ministry has to deal with the whole person and all of the needs and circumstances of life. Jesus understood this. When you read through the Gospels you will see Jesus interacting with people in very meaningful ways. He saw them as people and met their needs. Then he healed them or forgave them or did something to change their lives.
That is what we are called to do. Ministry has to be practical. It has to be real. So go out and feed the hungry or work to house the homeless. Go out and work for peace and justice. Stand up for the victims and stand with them if you can. Put your faith in action and you will find Jesus standing there with you.
Did I tell you that I met Jesus on the ground flooor of a seminary classroom I was cleaning? I had had some of my best talkes with him there that summer as I was working on the floors. May it be so for you as well.