The words of our song echoed through the Russian cathedral. We stood in the balcony, enraptured by the polished beauty surrounding us.
We were playing tourist that day, taking time off in the middle of a mission trip to Siberia. Our team didn’t plan on singing. There was no audience, at least no one we saw. But the chapel’s breathtaking glory inspired a song of praise, rising from the lips of American Christians half a world away from home.
When we finished, an older Russian woman selling souvenirs in the cathedral’s gift shop thanked us for our song. She’d prayed for years to someday hear God’s praise sung in another tongue.
He answered her prayer that day through the spontaneous song of an American mission team.
It’s easy to see the eternal significance of such moments and to rejoice at being used by God. It’s not as easy, however to see the sacred beauty hidden in the mundane ministry of parenting.
We can often become discouraged or wonder if God is disappointed with us during this life season.
To be sure, sometimes ministry looks like ministry, as it did that day in Siberia. And when I think of Jesus’ ministry, I immediately remember His works of healing, of calming the sea and casting out demons, of teaching multitudes about the Father’s heart.
But when He knelt before His disciples and washed their filthy feet – that’s when He said, “Follow My example.” (See John 13:1-17.)
At its heart, ministry is caring for the needs of those around us through the love and power of Christ. When we serve our families, we’re walking in Jesus’ footsteps.
Wiping noses and cooking meals and shuttling everyone around – that’s ministry. Using everyday events and teachable moments to point our kids to Jesus – that’s ministry. Setting aside our own comfort and preferences for the good of those we love – that’s ministry.
It’s not in the spotlight. Sometimes it’s kind of boring. Other times, it’s crazy hard. It’s certainly not as thrilling as singing in a Russian cathedral.
But to Jesus, it’s beautiful. It matters in eternity.
Remember His words:
- “…Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me” (Matthew 25:40, NIV).
- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV).
- “…If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:11b, NIV).
- “…Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:18b-21, NIV).
Be encouraged, moms and dads. God sees your daily sacrifices. He treasures your love poured out on the dear ones He’s entrusted to you. You serve Jesus when you serve your family.