“What does it mean to be called to nurture?”
I believe that the act of “nurturing” is synonymous with the type of ministry to which I was called by God. No this is not because I am a woman. No this is not because I minister to children. Well, it is in part because of those things because that is who God created me to be – although nurturing is a pastoral call for me beyond those things.
Who to nurture?
The most consistent and visible act of nurturing, for me, is with my family. My husband, two daughters, and baby on the way require a certain amount of gentleness, kindness and yes…self control. (Thanks be to God for gifting me with the Spirit to help with those relationships.) Nurturing is then expressed in listening, teaching, providing education, nourishment and enrichment. It’s the job of a mother and I love that job!
I am called to nurture the people of HillSong – the adults and children that I pray for daily. Nurturing here looks quite similar to that of nurturing at home, but requires a little more mercy because the body called to the church are my brothers and sisters and not my husband and children. However, nurturing in the church also calls for listening and teaching. Moreover, it demands offering care through the worst of life’s experiences and also the best. It’s the call of a pastor, and I love that job!
Jesus also requires that I nurture those who are not yet my brothers and sisters; those who are hard to love but need love; those who have nothing close to the gifts with which I have been blessed. It’s the job of a Christian, and I don’t always love that job….but I love the one who asks me to do it!
What is nurture?
Nurture is a way of caring and loving. It’s fostering discipleship in believers, and sharing the Gospel with those who don’t believe.
I think the call to nurture comes from the very call God placed on humanity “in the beginning.” In the garden, God asked God’s people to care for the garden and everything in it – plants, creatures of the air, the water, and the land. Of course they were to care for each other, too. Humanity forgot this call and cared only for those they wanted. God was saddened – God was Angry. Because of this anger we often go into our reading of Noah’s ark looking only at the destruction of the earth. But then we miss the call to nurture. Noah found favor in God’s eyes because (I believe) he was able to nurture: a wife, three sons and three daughters in law; smelly animals; and all of the food necessary to nourish everyone while on a stuffy boat for many months.
Noah, at least while ministering on the ark, embodies the call to nurture. It’s a messy calling, but a fruitful one.
This is the reason for this blog. With you – I hope to further explore my journey as one called to nurture.