A Healing Ministry

by Glenn H. Hazelrigg

       OPPORTUNITY constantly knocks at our door. A weary, heartsick, and discouraged world stands without, crying for admittance to the healing balm of Christian love. A discouraged man approached a minister at the close of a Saturday night street meeting, saying, "Wife and I are backslidden. Won't you come and talk to us?" A lonely man at the county infirmary wrote in asking that someone be sent out to see him. A bereaved father welcomed a minister to counsel and comfort him and his motherless children.

"The world is dying for a little bit of love." This is not just an old saying. It is a heart-touching fact worth considering. Who else but the true saints of God have the love the world is dying for? And who but the Christian does the love of Christ constrain to bestow that love on all within their reach? Graciously they have been loved-graciously they are to love. Like their Master, whose kind heart was touched with compassion for the sick, the lame, the blind, so the hearts of the saints are to go out in sympathy to those in need. It is because God has comforted them that they can comforted others.

But tears must well up in the heart before they can flow from the eyes. As the Savior wept over the erring ones of his day, so we must weep over those in need today. Love still covers a multitude of sins, but only as it loves enough to enter into the grief of the stricken and lead the fallen to the cleansing fount that washes away all sin. Yet to lead the weary to the cross often means ministering to the physical and emotional needs before the spiritual needs can be met.

A pastor said that his was a teaching ministry, not a visiting ministry. In taking this attitude he is missing the opportunity of his life. His ministry reaches the heads-not the hearts-of those who hear him, and those who need him most never feel his helping hand because it is not extended to them. Jesus taught many things, but he won the people to his teaching by the comforting ministry of his tender hands. It is only by weeping with those who weep that we can convince them that our love is genuine, that we really care, and that our teaching is true. Even then it is not the teaching that brings them to the Lord but our heart that is touched with the feeling of their infirmity.

There is gold in the hills, brethren, but it is not to be had by lecturing on mineralogy, but only by laboring on hands and knees with pick and shovel. The personal touch of the heart filled with love is the touchstone that softens the hardened sinner so that the Lord may save him. Hungry hearts all around us are yearning for the touch of a loving hand. It is the hands of the saints they are waiting for-hands that can minister to them in their sorrow and heartache.

A man lay dying in a hospital ward. A visiting pastor stopped in and read the Word and prayed with him. The sick man was saved that very hour—because of the touch of a tender hand and a loving heart. A pastor was visiting a sick member of his church in the women's ward. After he had gone a woman on a nearby bed said, "When that preacher comes back, send him to me." A hungry soul in search of the heavenly manna! The preacher came back and fed the hungry heart.

On one occasion Jesus said, "My heart aches for the people." I often wonder if our hearts ache for the people, those all around us who try to hide their heart hunger with the cold veneer of seeming indifference. If our hearts really ached for them, I believe the Holy Spirit would open up ways for us to minister to them the healing balm. But our hearts must ache for them before we can soothe their aching hearts. Our hearts must bleed for them before we can heal their bleeding hearts. Our hearts must weep for them before we can comfort their breaking hearts. We need the burden that Jesus carried for the sick, the afflicted, the lost.

A weary, heartsick, and discouraged world is knocking at our door and we, of all people, have the means to minister to it, pouring in the oil and the wine, and binding up the wounds of disappointment and carrying it to the great Physician so tender, so willing, and so near by.

This article appeared in the January 4, 1947 publication of "THE GOSPEL TRUMPET" A publication of the Gospel Trumpet Company Anderson, Indiana.

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