Saturday, April 20, 2024

Why Not Do Only the “Pleasant” Ministries?

Our Monday started with our pro-life witness on the street outside Planned
Parenthood, the unbelievably evil business that lies to women, exploits their fears and confusion, kills their preborn sons and daughters with high-powered vacuums and knives and poisons, and then guarantees its ongoing business by promoting to America’s youth the grossest and most perverse sex propaganda imaginable. In so doing, this mega-abortion profiteer not only exploits millions of dollars from their clients, it is enriched yet further with millions of dollars taken from the pockets of American taxpayers. It is a truly sickening reality.

Set against this monstrous evil, our small and simple witness doesn’t seem like much of an opposition, does it? It’s only a few pro-lifers (5 of us on that Monday) holding beautiful baby signs and offering truth, compassion, and liberating alternatives to abortion to both clients and staff. Just a few pro-lifers, quietly standing outside this blasphemous business, praying to God for a swift end to the injustice and bloodshed that goes on inside. 

Again, we are hardly a powerhouse of opposition. After all, Planned Parenthood enjoys protection from the law; it is funded by Big Tech foundations as well as federal and state governments; it has been given a “free pass” from ambulance-chasing lawyers who are otherwise ready to bring lawsuits against anything that moves; it receives lavish praise from all corners of the media; and, saddest of all, the abortion industry has conducted its horrific violence with a general indifference from the pulpits of American churches.

So, with all of this heavy decadence to lift and with the playing field tilted so dramatically against us, why do we bother protesting abortionists? Why not gracefully resign the job, pat ourselves on the back for all the years we’ve sincerely tried to make a difference, and just move on to ministry activities that are less confrontational, less sorrowful, less hopeless? Why not focus instead on things like our “When Swing Was King” shows? For compared to sidewalk counseling or abortion protests in the public square, ministries like “When Swing Was King” and the Sunday afternoon church services at Aksarben Senior Living are a lot more pleasant and rewarding. And, of course, in ministries like those, there’s abundant evidence that we’re making a positive difference. We lift spirits and build self-esteem. We successfully chase away boredom and loneliness in people’s lives. We build friendships, secure a winsome reputation, and garner plenty of appreciative praise.

Indeed, rather than people being callously indifferent to our anti-abortion activities (let alone being the target of ugly curses, obscene gestures, slander, and physical threats), the residents and staff of the other senior centers give us smiles and applause, expressions of gratitude and compliments. And, as you can imagine, that’s pretty wonderful stuff. So, since these kinds of ministries produce such obvious and happy effects, why don’t we just go with things like that and make life a little easier in our last years? Believe me, these questions have been asked of us frequently over the decades. Goodness, we have sometimes asked them ourselves! However, the answer to these questions lies in the noble opportunity given us by God to embrace His wisdom, grace, and empowerment. 

Here’s how it works. God’s mercies have been poured out upon everyone who trusts Christ’s sacrifice on Golgotha’s cross to be the complete (and forever) payment for their sin. Praise be to God! But, as astonishing and liberating as this is, it is just the beginning. For the Christian is not merely saved from hell, he is also adopted into God’s family, given spiritual gifts and callings, and baptized into a custom-made adventure which finds its triumphant destination in heaven. And for that pilgrimage, our Lord gives the redeemed divine powers to serve as His ministers, ambassadors, and warriors with solemn duties to be “lights of the world” -- lights that shine so brilliantly that the watching world will see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. Wow.

But, to do this effectively and consistently, we must be true to the marching orders we have been given in Holy Scripture. For instance, our lights are not to be hidden in a pitcher or under the bed. They are not to be turned into safe corners or to blaze forth only when in the company of other lights. Oh, no. We are commanded by our Captain to let our lights shine before others, to shine from the tops of the hills, to shine in the dark places, to shine in the very midst of a crooked and perverse generation, to “shine like stars” in places where the unrighteous will see and be drawn to the same splendid truths that saved and elevated us. 

Now I freely confess that shining our light in pleasant surroundings and to audiences who appreciate our witness is great. And, though our ministries to the elderly and infirm do involve their own degree of difficulty, hard work, and sadness, we are deeply grateful to our God Who has allowed to engage in these activities. But the several Bible references I’ve mentioned above referring to lights shining in the darkness -- combined with the commands our Lord gives us to confront correct error and rebuke evil, to stand firm in the faith even when speaking prophetic truths to those in power, to “do” justice, to deliver those drawn towards death and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter, and so on -- well, that doesn’t give us any excuse to present before the Lord only those tasks that we consider more pleasant or comfortable or fun or successful.  No, the tough duties are ours too. The ones that are stressful, the ones that elicit criticism and opposition (even persecution), the ones that routinely break our hearts and have us crying out all the more desperately for the Lord’s return. 

So, as long as abortion profiteers wage their grisly war against babies, exploit their moms and dads, pollute the culture, brazenly deny the order of creation, and wage war against the Creator God, Vital Signs Ministries will continue to peacefully, prayerfully voice our protest…even as we seek to persuade people from ever showing up at the doors of a Planned Parenthood or other abortionist. But does that mean we will ignore other ministry opportunities when the Lord adds them to our agenda? Of course not. Indeed, just like you, our Christian journey is likely to have us involved in many different tasks, different seasons, different levels of commitment, different skill ratings, and different degrees of difficulty. Just stay closely tuned in to Jesus and seek to “man up” and accomplish whatever jobs He sets before you today. Leading a charge. Washing the dishes. Making a donation. Mowing the lawn. Holding a sign in front of an abortion mill. Volunteering at a pregnancy aid center. Explaining to the local librarian why they should offer more classic children’s literature instead of perverse propaganda. Visiting someone who needs some encouragement. Writing a letter to your Congressman. Saying your prayers. Keeping unstained by the world. And so on. 

That, my friends, is what life as a servant of Jesus Christ will look like. So take an honest look at the needs and opportunities around you and ask the Lord to put you where you can best serve His purposes. And, once underway, keep looking up and stay the course. His rewards are right around the corner.