This morning I am super excited to be running a 5K race. Other than running the 3.1 miles at the end of my triathlons I haven't done a road race in about 2 1/2 years. The last one I did, Carl and I did together. We trained well for a couple months and then we ran the race. Carl ran his fastest pace that day. It was so much fun to see him peak the day of the race.
This race will be interesting. I am running it with my friend (and boss) Cari Norris. We have neither one been training for it and just decided Thursday at work that we should do it. So our goal is to run the entire race. The first half is pretty much all uphill, but if we can make it to the half-way mark, then I think we can make it downhill to the finish line.
As I was thinking about the differences in these races, I thought about how this is very much like the ministries that God gives us. Sometimes He gives us opportunities to minister in which we have had months or years of training to prepare us. For instance, from 2003-2004 I got to spend the school year at the Kanakuk Institute. This year was a great year of learning the Bible and learning the ins and outs of ministry that prepared me for my years as the women's director of the Taney County K-Life. And also prepared me for all the Bible study lessons I have written and all the talks I have given. It was a year away to prepare me for the ministry of life.
But other times we don't get the preparation we think we need. Sometimes God throws an opportunity at us to minister to someone and we have no previous training or experience. But this doesn't mean we should shy away. This is when we trust that God is in control and the Holy Spirit is in us to give us the words we need or the strength we need to minister to someone in need.
Last year in Nashville we had a major flood and countless volunteers jumped in and began helping people clear out their houses. Most of these people had never gutted a house before, but the did it anyway because that was what was needed.
In both cases, God gets the glory. As we live our lives we can't run from ministry opportunities because we don't feel equipped or qualified. We must rely on God and trust Him. So take the opportunity to get training when you have the chance, but continue to minister even when you haven't trained for it. God will do the ministering, your heart, mind and body simply must be available.