I love the Greek word for "ministry" found in the New Testament. It is diakonia~~dia=through and konia= dust. True ministry entails going "through the dust" with another person. I like to picture Jesus and the disciples walking the dusty roads together as they engaged in itinerant ministry in Palestine. "Then He (Jesus) appointed twelve, that they might be with Him..." Mark 3:14-15 (emphasis added) Wouldn't it be wonderful to walk those miles with Jesus? I picture a more leisurely pace than we have today; time to engage in unhurried conversation. Much true discipleship takes place in these informal moments of interaction.
But what does it mean to go through the dust in our own culture?
It means adding strands to the cords of love that bind us together. When we rub shoulders with another person in one context only, such as at a church service, we have a simplex relationship~~a single strand. But each time we eat together, go fishing, share holidays, combine campsites, help each other move furniture, clean ovens together, or dip our paintbrushes in the same bucket we are adding extra strands to the cords of community that knit us together.
I've been blessed these past couple of weeks in many of the ways mentioned above. I like to think I've been walking the dusty roads, but it is hard to tell if I've been on the receiving or the giving end of the deal. I do know that Jesus has been our unseen walking partner. And as we have journeyed together, simplex relationships are developing into multiplex relationships. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.