Want an easy life? Don’t become a Christian

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Editor’s note: Today’s post is in honor of our colleagues in ministry who inspire us through their faithful service in the face of adversity. You know who you are.

During the middle of today’s sermon, my pastor stopped the service and asked each of us to reflect upon who God has placed in our lives who is in need of mercy. I had no shortage of folks come to mind…

  • The father in search of a hospital willing to put him on the waiting list for a kidney transplant so he might hope to live a typical lifespan to care for his son with significant special needs.
  • The couple struggling to get by after the husband experienced a head injury at work that resulted in the wife needing to stay home from work as much as she can to care for him.
  • Two families needing to leave homes they can no longer afford during the holidays.
  • Another family in fear of losing their home because of medical expenses and the lack of employment prospects sufficient to pay routine bills.
  • Families of kids with substantial mental health concerns struggling to find the right help.
  • More parents than I can count wrestling with their own mental health concerns, especially depression, anxiety and trauma.

ALL of them actively serve in a church or a ministry devoted to helping “at-risk” kids and families. And NONE of them would give up the ministry to which they have been called in exchange for a comfortable and relatively adversity-free life.

shutterstock_290374736Do you want an easy life? Stay away from church. Ignore the small, still voice inside you prodding you to serve those around you in the name of Jesus. Take the money you could use helping those in distress around you and put it toward the beachfront condo or spectacular vacations the rest of us can experience vicariously through your Instagram account.

I think I’m as frustrated by the “prosperity gospel” as I am by churches and organizations that suggest to prospective adoptive or foster parents that love and caring is all that children who have been abandoned or traumatized will need to become whole. The words don’t fit with the patterns that I see playing out in the lives of the people with whom I come in contact.

Here’s what we can promise family members of kids with disabilities who choose to follow Jesus…especially those who go the next step in seeking to live out the teachings of the Gospel. There are no guarantees of a life of comfort. You are pretty much guaranteed a life of adversity. But you will be guaranteed a life of significance. You’ll have the opportunity to join with your Creator in the ultimate battle for the universe. And you won’t be bored.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (ESV)

If mercy is defined as empathic action in response to another’s deep need, who can you show mercy to this week? 

Image from Jamesbox / Shutterstock.com

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image_ChristmasFamilyKey Ministry’s Annual Fund helps to support free training, consultation and support for churches seeking to welcome, serve and include families of kids with disabilities, and allows us to provide this blog as a resource for over 40,000 visitors each month. Please keep our team in your prayers as we prepare for 2016 and consider a generous financial gift to support the ongoing work of our ministry team.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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