By Aiden Willis
We’ve discussed the calling to ministry being unique and heavy, but we haven’t quite unpacked what will we have to turn over to Jesus in order to walk in this calling. What does the Lord want from us as we walk in the calling of leading and shepherding others in the faith; especially as Black Women...
As believers we are obviously called to lay aside every weight and sin to run this race, Jesus doesn’t want just half of us he wants ALL of us. His scriptures tell us to come to Him, those who are weak and heavy burdened for he will give us rest. Everytime I hear that my shoulders relax, I exhale, and I picture being wrapped in Jesus’ arms and well resting. That is a pretty easy cost, most would say. But following Jesus, while is pretty simple, also brings a long some complication. I think most of would say, the cost of being a believer is your entire life. Giving God your WHOLE life and letting go of control. When I think about the price of being a Black Woman in ministry though...WHEW CHILE, that is ‘spensive!
Here’s one thing I must lay down...my pride! (Everybody inhale and exhale) I think we all struggle with pride in some form or fashion, seeing that pride manifest itself in so many different ways. The first one that came to mind is the willingness to speak up for what is right and wrong, instead of staying silent. I have encountered more times than not situations that cause for correction and rebuke. Whether that be little microaggressions we are faced with everyday or the complete lack of consideration for a minority. I must not let my prideful thinking of “why don’t they know better” or “how ignorant can you be” get in the way of loving my brothers and sisters in Christ. Laying down my pride means to rebuke my brothers and sisters in Christ by calling them to repentance and educating them on things they may be ignorant to with a heart that is filled with God’s grace, not with a heart filled with resentfulness. We are not here to honor ourselves but rather those around us!
“Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
The most honorable way to show God’s love for His people, is to love His people. His people are all of those that know Him and don’t know Him. We are called to love the Creator that created ALL things. This world is full of fickle and sinful people, me being one of them. When ministering my pride can not get in the way of leading those who who God gave his Son for. I must love them better than I love myself.
When I minister I feel like I must minister from a place that is empathetic. A place where I am reminded of God’s faithfulness in my own trials. This place is a place that can bring back hard emotions. The memories that left me feeling lonely and longing for God’s love. This heart posture is one that is deeply surrendered to the Holy Spirit and its’ will for whatever will take place in that interaction or conversation. While being hard, I believe this heart posture is the best place to minister from.
I find that often Black Women don’t want to connect with this place. Black Women embody strength unlike any other race in this world. In the same breath though, that strength has not always been shown through allowing others to see us cry and weep. For centuries, Black Women have been told that tears are a sign of weakness. To be honest, I think for years we didn’t have time for weakness. We were just trying to pull up our bootstraps and keep it moving. This world gave us little room to feel, we were too busy just trying to find room for ourselves in a world, that didn’t necessarily want us in it and would do anything (beat, segregate, and ostracize) to keep us out of it. So know that I relate to feeling like you don’t have the space or opportunity to feel. My friend, we have that space now, and I believe God brings us through these trials for a reason. Romans 3, tells us that we should be rejoicing in our afflictions, not running from them. Sis, in order to walk in this calling we must endure trials AND talk about them. Our trials, sadness, fears, hopes, and dreams are what connect all of us to an All-Knowing God. In connection with others is where we are reminded of the hope in things yet seen.
So another payment means being willing to walk through trials and reflect on them often. I am preaching to myself when I say that we can’t walk through these trials alone, we must do it with other people as well. I have been pushed even in this season, to do just that, be open and honest about what’s going on in my life. I have been invited to weep at the tables of my sisters. We need to allow people to come alongside of us and see us weep. Paul reminds Timothy of just that in his second letter written to Him:
“But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I have endured - and yet the Lord rescued me from them all.”
2 Timothy 3:10-12
We have got to to endure some things in order to love others well and let our sisters in Christ to walk with us.
Sis, the cost of ministry as a Black Woman is expensive, but the reward, priceless! Hearing “You good and faithful servant” from my Father one day, will make every pill of pride swallowed and every tear of deep longing worth it.