By Patti Johnson
“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
I take great comfort from this verse. It is TRUTH. The LORD does not take a break from watching over me. Not time, circumstances, weather, season or anything else that I or someone can put in my path will keep His watchful eye from me.
I think you would agree that we all take comfort in being under the watchful eye of someone committed to the task.
The role of ministry to is, in part, to watch over those who have been entrusted into our care. Whether it is children, teen, adult, facility or finance someone is counting on you to watch over them.
In essence, those of us in ministry life have been placed on a lifeguard stand. Our role is to look ahead, around, up above, down below, off into the horizon and right under our noses. Looking for dangers, pitfalls, disappointments, hurts and harms that could befall those in our care.
We are not in the pool, on the beach, lounging in a comfortable chair enjoying a nap, we are steadfast in our watch. Our eyes and minds are focused.
A lifeguard on the beach or poolside is watching for physical dangers.
A lifeguard in ministry is looking for spiritual dangers.
Both have a specific focus and specific audience.
How do we in ministry carry this out and still engage with the ones in our care. Can we do both?
We can do both, just not at the same time.
We must be engaged in scripture to watch out for spiritual pitfalls. We must walk the path of serving to see where dangers of discouragement lie. We must live a life of integrity and character to understand the temptations for shortcuts leading down the wrong roads.
Before we disengage from oversight, we must make sure someone else is climbing the lifeguard stand to take our place. Only then may we climb down off our perch and engage on the ground amongst the people in our care. The hand off of care. Teamwork.
The most critical portion of a relay race is the handing off of the baton to the next runner. If one runner does not successfully pass the baton or the receiving runner does not successfully catch and continue carrying the baton, the race is not complete.
The perspective from the lifeguard stand is one of watching and caring. A successful watch care is one where no one gets hurt. But this comes from diligence and understanding of purpose.
Our example comes from the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 121.
The commitment of watching over.
It is indeed a privilege to care for others. Decide to commit afresh to the calling and task.