The lens through which we see and have come to understand caring ministry is significant as our beliefs sway our values, which shape our attitudes, and support our behaviors. The story below points out that as creatures of habit, we often do the things we do for no other reason than, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
As Betty was in the kitchen preparing the Easter ham, her husband asked, “Why do you always cut off the ends of the ham?”
Betty paused for a moment and then responded, “That’s a good question. I’ve always cut off the ends of the ham because that’s the way my mother did it.” With her curiosity peeked, Betty called her mother and asked why. Her mother replied with a similar sense of intrigue, “That’s the way my mother always did it.”
Betty then called her grandmother, mentioned cutting off the ends of the ham and being perplexed as to why. Her grandmother broke out into laughter. Once she gained her composure, she answered, "Because the pan was too small.”
Rather than perpetuating the past for the sake of continuity and simplicity, we encourage you to examine the Scriptures and ensure that your caring efforts closely align with Jesus’ commands. When the narrative that informs us is based on human ideas and opinions rather than God’s Word, it calls into question whose agenda we are advancing.
The first four lessons of our Faith Fundamentals Training series share Bible stories and foundational principles that help church leaders and churchgoers reimagine and reframe caring based on a biblical narrative. As the saying goes, what we see is what we get. Therefore, if we overlook the purpose of troubles and confuse what caring entails and love requires, we miss the basic tenets of the Christian life.
Lessons 5-7 of the series help to retool how we interact with and love people. What we know is what we do. Therefore, until we understand and exemplify what Jesus teaches about presence, listening, and asking reflective questions, despite good intentions, we naturally do and say things that are inept and which come across as insensitive.
Lessons 8-10 of the help to reinforce disciplines that are fundamental to Christianity – knowing God’s Word, prayer, and discipling. Since what we believe is ultimately how we care, starting with a solid theological construct, and developing key capabilities and confidence are critical to our success and the achievement of unity and maturity.