12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed. (Acts 5:12-16, NIV)
Our temptation today would be to somehow “brand” that moment. Imagine Peter walking down a street today, the power of the Spirit flowing, and as he passes someone they are healed.
He stops, turns around, moves back to the one who was healed, pulls out his cell phone and says, “Could you hold those crutches up for me?” He then bends down by the person holding up their crutches, sticks his phone up in the air and snaps a selfie with the former cripple.
As he moves on, he quickly clicks on the photo and readies it to “share” on Facebook. He types in, “To the glory of God” in the status, pastes in the photo, and sends it off for his admirers to see. Think of the all the “likes” THAT will get!
We need a new Pentecost. We need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. We need to move from the selfie generation where our “humble brag” is standing in front of hundreds while we snap away on our cell phone cameras and sending it out “giving glory to God.” We need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit that will bring us to the realization that HE must increase… and WE must decrease. We must move from the selfie generation to the selfless generation.
I’ve heard preachers talk about having a “shadow ministry” like Peter, where they’re just walking down the street and people are getting healed. Of course, it’s in the context of them walking down the street and seeing people healed… all so a photo op can take place and they get it out on their website and social media. All for the glory of God, of course.
Maybe we don’t need “shadow” ministry so much as we need ministry in the shadows.
Maybe we need a new outpouring of the Spirit on the Church that activates us so thoroughly we carry that powerful presence with us and we actually have no idea what happens as we pass through our day. Maybe we’re at the checkout line at Target and the Spirit through us touches the person behind us. We don’t know it, but as we turned and looked at them, healing flowed. We paid our bill and walked out to the car, and that person was healed. We didn’t even know.
We don’t need a “shadow” ministry. We need ministry in the shadows.
Maybe we’re in a meeting at work and after that meeting, we offer a kind word to someone as we head back to our desk. We move on, but the Spirit overwhelms that co-worker and whispers to them, “I know where you are. You are loved with an everlasting love.” They get so overwhelmed, they slip into the bathroom and weep uncontrollably. And they really don’t know why at the time.
We need ministry in the shadows.
Ministry that allows the Spirit to flow and we don’t stop for the selfie. We simply allow the greatness of our Savior radiate from us and HE is glorified.
We need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. We need a selfless generation moving in a fresh anointing… and it’s not about US any more. It’s about HIM.