Ministering through adversity

Rarely is the whole world shaken by fear, loss and inadequacy. In modern history, world wars 1 and 2, the threat of terrorism, the global financial crisis, ongoing ecological breakdown, and now Covid have stripped away much of humanity’s confidence in our ability to solve the issues of our day.

Clearly humanity lacks the unity, wisdom and the resources to solve our most basic problems. Yet we in SIM firmly believe that we serve the God of mission, who has called every follower of Jesus to be a part of His mission in whatever situation, no matter how we are called.

To the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul was eager to reassure believers who were not wise, influential or from important family lines, that God chooses the lowly things of this world (1 Cor 1:26-30). We see this modelled by the Philippian church, the first congregation planted in Europe. Formed of non-Jewish background believers, with women playing essential roles, it was noteworthy for its poverty (2 Cor 8:1-5).

In Philippi, Lydia, a businesswoman from today’s Turkey, opened her heart and house for new believers to meet (Acts 16:13-15, 49). The Philippian gaoler and his household formed the nucleus of this church (Acts 16:23-34). Although not wealthy, this church became a model of generosity that enabled the gospel to spread. Paul himself embraced this model of contentment (Phil 3:7-11; 4:11-19).

What does serving amidst insufficiency and inadequacy look like today? For me, it has included receiving generous hospitality from believers in humble Andean villages who are hungry for biblical understanding. It is trusting God for our children’s education when the options seem limited. It is depending on God to meet critical financial needs, personally and in ministry, and for colleagues. It is praying for God’s wisdom amid the challenges of leading multicultural, multi-skilled teams through times of multi-layered needs.

Whatever part God calls us to play in his mission, our personal and collective inadequacies will loom large. Thank you for supporting our workers in SIM. May the Apostle Paul and the humble Christians of Philippi be a model to us of serving with contentment and generosity, in times of both inadequacy and plenty, reassured that “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Phil 1:13).

–Diane Marshall