WHAT a wonderful thing it is when the Spirit brings us alive in how he’s using others. I must admit to envy a lot of the time — wishing I had the gifting or foresight to have written what others have written, for instance. But when envy is quickly morphed into inspiration there’s a lot to thank God for.
I feel inspired to write on the above topic through what the Spirit has done in me as a response to an article I read where this was quoted:
“The pastoral care relationship imitates the grace we have received in Christ and foreshadows the grace we are yet to receive.”
— Alycia Randell
Pastoral care relationships find their basis and power in the midst of grace.
Where are we going, and who are we, in the faith, without grace? I sense we’re nothing without it. I sense we’ve missed the point if our ‘faith’ strides forth in a purpose devoid of it. Grace, rather, is devoid of self. Grace gives and we, the believer, receive. But, importantly, in the receiving we have given over our will so that grace might do a work in us above and beyond our pitiable default resistance. In a word, surrender. Our surrender and God’s grace — a formidable unison for the Kingdom.
The pastoral care relationship is implicit of and pregnant with grace. Such a relationship embodies and amplifies the pastoral heart, which is simply a spiritual ministry in parties to the relationship. What urgent power for the Kingdom is displayed for all with eyes to see and for all with ears to hear.
The pastoral heart allows. It does not rescind. It remains open with positivity and hope. The pastoral heart is not a closed door, nor a smothering agent, nor a damp cloth over a chalkboard. The pastoral heart is appreciative, alive in the faith, realistic yet hopeful for the best. Such a heart is anointed for relationship. The pastoral care relationship is about life, hope and glory — God’s. Pastoral care is exigent of a generous spirit, not an inhibiting spirit, alive to love, not seeking to control.
Egalitarianism is a concept home to grace, which is home within the sphere of spiritual ministry. Spiritual ministry is not dependent on the human will, for the latter is subservient to the former. The Spirit that divides soul and spirit even in the one person will do as he is pleased to do — and to God be that glory!
The Spirit is beyond male and female, slave and free. The spiritual ministry, henceforth, makes all things equal, for no bias can be predicated and no bias can prevail — unless it’s set up by the Spirit, himself. For the Spirit, though, biases are antithetical. We must know there’s no partiality in God, besides the seeming random nature of God’s hand and blessing at times. But that’s our perception for us.
The beauty of the pastoral care relationship and the spiritual ministry is they’re all about God. Nothing human interrupts either. Grace superintends with beauty everything pastoral.
Grace, come, keep flowing
Come with spiritual ease,
Grace, come, keep showing
Only by grace do God we please.
The more we legislate the more we shove God away. The more we lord it over people the more we lord our tyranny over ourselves. But the person surrendered to the Spirit, the one going pastoral, is the one who breathes and builds God’s Kingdom. The less they try the more they do.
Come, Holy Spirit of peace,
Come and break the bonds of law,
Melt hearts afresh, make us adore:
Your works of grace never cease.
Grace differentiates true hospitality from hosting, catering and entertaining. Grace makes hospitality pastorally caring.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.