There are reports of many kind and thoughtful services being offered from many sources to people during these days of disease, suffering, and shut down.
Years ago when I ministered at the Willow Island Baptist Church in Pleasants County near the town of St. Marys, WV, I once was out visiting door-to-door in the local community of Belmont. At each house, I stayed long enough to extend an urgent invitation to come to church, and to be ready to share the Gospel message when there was opportunity.
It was tremendously hot and humid that day, and I actually dropped sweat on the streets as I walked to the houses. In Belmont, there was a man named Gary Clark (if you remember, we had a great Gary Clark here in Mason County before he went home to be with the Lord a few short years ago). The Belmont Gary Clark was a good man, too. He was a teacher at the middle school of the county. He worked also as the trainer for the high school football team.
I also knew that he was a faithful church goer, and as I approached his house, I considered not knocking on his door. But, as I was trudging by, Gary came out his front door and greeted me. In his hand he had a big glass of ice water, which he extended toward me. He said, “I have seen you coming up the way, and it being so hot today, I thought you might need a good drink of water. I give it to you in Jesus’ name.”
My heart lit up with Scripture, for Jesus once talked about rewarding those who give so much as a cup of water in His name to those who belong to Him. He added that those who do so “shall not lose their reward.”
I was so blessed with that cool drink of water that day. It has never left my memory. But, it also taught me a valuable spiritual lesson that I have practiced since. And, I have made it a point to remind the people of the churches I pastored that as we minister to the needs people have to tell them it is done in Jesus’ name.
What that does is that it exemplifies witness about Jesus Christ. When churches and Christian people minister, it is most often done with sacrifice involving love, time, and resources. When we minister in the name of Jesus, it takes those sacrifices and specifically points to the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross that we might receive forgiveness of sin. What we do should be clearly associated with that. Identification with Christ is important.
Furthermore, doing things in the name of Jesus qualifies the reason Jesus gave Himself for death on the Cross. He did it for others. He did it for us. Jesus said, “I have not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to be a ransom for many.” People need to be aware of the Lord’s true intent for coming to this world and for giving Himself the way He did.
Our son, Jeshua, his wife, Megan, along with their three daughters and son, have recently taken meals to some families in need in Williamsburg, Va. I was blessed when he said they told the recipients that the meals were given in Jesus’ name.
Franklin Graham and his son of Samaritan’s Purse were on the news this week talking about the hospital they built in New York to supplement the effort to administer healing to the sick there with the virus. Both of them emphasized that the ministry was done in Jesus’ name. I was blessed to hear them say that.
As your church kindly and thoughtfully ministers to the needs of people, and as you individually minister to the needs of people during these rigorous days, mention that what you do is done in Jesus’ name. After all, it brings Him the honor and the glory.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.