Shannan’s book The Ministry of Ordinary Places shines a light on the unglamorous ministry of living life as a Christian where you are. You don’t need to go to Kenya or Nepal, Chile, or Ukraine to make a difference for God’s kingdom. That work, your work could very well be right in front of you. That work could be in your neighborhood, literally loving the people who live next door, it could be loving and serving the wider community, or it could be embracing the place you live.
God calls us to abundance, an abundance of good & bad, light & darkness. He gives an abundance to learn from, grow into and serve with. Christ camped among the hurting. He didn’t flee discomfort. (pg 40). This is where I started crying, ok this is where I lost it. We’ve been in a season of hurt and pain for so long now. It may not seem long to those around us but within the walls of our home, it feels like ages. To know, to accept that Christ is not only here but camping out with us in this hurt brings unimaginable relief to a painful situation.
There is a fear across the country of people who don’t look like, worship like, talk like, or think like you or me. This exasperated fear of other is exactly who God calls us to love in loving our neighbors, not blindly but with open hearts, minds, and a listening ear. “Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends,” wrote Henri Nouwen (pg 34). Shannan’s embrace and learning how to do this is uplifting and encouraging. I struggle with so many of the things Shannan writes about, hospitality, listening, patience, loneliness.
God isn’t interested in perfection, He wants our participation.
She reminds readers that this life is not ours when became believers of Christ; our lives became His, His to live out every single day. To share a meal with a stranger, listen to a friend struggling with heartbreak, teaching children how to be even when we fail with each other.
Get your own copy of The Ministry of Ordinary Places.
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