This last week I was reminded every day that, while I might have retired from pastoral ministry, I am in ministry wherever I am. Even in a place with no cell phone service or internet access, God needs witnesses and servants. We may not be in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but we are in Death Valley, and God can still use me.
I stand in wonder at the ways that God uses me in continued ministry. Every day people ask me to pray for them or for loved ones. Some of these people are ones that are always on my prayer list. Some of them are new to my prayer list. Some are total strangers. This week I was giving a tour and one of the guests asked me what I did before I became a volunteer Park Ranger. I told her that I was a pastor and she immediately asked me to pray for her son who is going through a difficult divorce. She didn’t tell me her name, but her son’s name is Adam.
One day I spent half an hour talking to one of the young rangers who was trying to figure her life out. She just needed someone to listen so she could figure out what the Holy Spirit was already whispering to her heart. The next day I spent quite a bit of time talking to one of the rangers who is worried about his wife who is sick. He rarely talks about what is going on in his life so I felt privileged to listen to him share his concerns.
Sometimes the rangers get tired or frustrated or angry. Several times this week I was able to speak a word of encouragement or diffuse a difficult situation. I reminded one ranger that anyone we meet could be Jesus and we should treat them, and serve them, as if this was the case. I have been able to help lots of people and try to serve all with the joy that Jesus gives me every day.
I haven’t stopped serving God just because I am retired. I am getting to stretch and grow as I serve him in new places – but in the same ways I have always been able to serve. God is still calling me and I am still a minister.
God calls each one of us to serve him wherever we are. We all can minister to a hurting, broken world and the people in it. How can you serve him where you are today?