If you think the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 is about someone else, think again. You & I are called to serve, as well.
Imagine that you met someone new, and you’re the first Christian they’ve known. Nonverbally, what does your life communicate about Jesus?
God is at work all around you, and he’s doing some awesome things! Be mindful of ways in which you can get involved in ministry outreach.
The second half of 1 Corinthians 15:10 says that God’s grace toward us is not in vain. In fact, you & I can help spread his love to others.
My little brother and I fell in love with a pair of soft & cuddly plush puppets at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo one year when we were young. They were puppies, and if you held them in the crook of your arm, it looked realistic (in our imaginations, that is!). I liked the brown one, and he wanted the black one. Our parents surprised us with the pups as a gift, and we played make-believe games with those puppets for years. I still have mine to this day.
Think about some of the favorite gifts you have received in your life. The gifts that come to my mind are things that I wore, used, consumed, or played with. I can’t think of any gift that I ever left in its wrapping paper, unopened. The simple act of accepting a gift involves action.
The Bible says that God has equipped each of us, as believers in Christ, with spiritual gifts (see Ephesians 4:7, Romans 12:6a, 1 Peter 4:10). These aren’t just things to keep tucked away for a rainy day; we should be putting them into practice. 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT) says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” Some gifts are to be used within the church, while others are for sharing with unbelievers, as well. None of the gifts are just for our own enjoyment, and none are intended to be hidden away.
Later in that same chapter, Paul uses the human body as an example of how our gifts are supposed to work in tandem with each other. It wouldn’t do much good if all of us were eyeballs, would it? We often talk in church-ese about being “the hands and feet of Jesus,” but if no one serves in a behind-the-scenes role as the brain or heart, then the hands and feet can’t get very far.
If you have never taken a spiritual gifts inventory, then it’s a useful (and perhaps revealing!) exercise. Confession: I used to feel put out that I always score high in Administration, because that sounded awfully dull. But then, God opened doors of opportunity for me to lead and serve in different capacities that were a good fit for me, and I was able to use my gifts in ways I hadn’t realized before. I encourage you to be open to however the Lord has equipped you, and give back to him by way of service to your church family and community.
Has it ever occurred to you that YOU might be the tool that God uses to minister to someone else? Be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
I had an imaginary conversation with God this week, and it went something like this:
God: “So, what time do you want to meet for lunch today?”
Me: “Whenever, Lord.”
God: “Let’s say noon.”
Me: “It’s really crowded then. How about 11:30 a.m., instead?”
God: “What do you want to eat?”
Me: “Whatever, Lord.”
God: “Let’s have Thai.”
Me: “Eww, you know how sick I got in Thailand that one time. Besides, I don’t like curry.”
God: “But, I like Thai.”
Me: “Fine, which Thai restaurant do you want to go to?”
God: “The one in Thailand.”
God: “But, you said you’d follow me whenever, wherever, whatever.”
Me: “I meant anywhere but there, Lord.”
I know better than to say that I would never move someplace (Never say never!), but there are certainly spots on the globe that I would rather not go. No offense to the breathtaking terrain and colorful culture of Thailand, but if I had my druthers, I’d prefer to not go back. I became violently ill the one time I was there; consequently, the smell of curry makes my stomach churn, even to this day.
When we sing songs in church with lyrics like, “Where you go I’ll go,” or “I surrender all,” do we really mean it, or are we just giving lip-service to God? I don’t believe that God calls each of us to a life of poverty or compels us to move continents away from our extended families, but I think the point is that we are willing if he does call us, and that we are open to his voice. We are each gifted in unique ways (check out 1 Corinthians 12 and take Crosstraining 301 to learn more about spiritual gifts). He expects us to use those gifts to his glory, no matter where we are. Be assured, though, that our faith-walk does require sacrifice. It may not mean getting cholera and typhoid immunizations and relocating to South Asia, but it could mean inviting your grumpy co-worker to church or giving up an evening of television every couple of weeks to tutor at C4.
Whenever. Whatever. Wherever. Do you mean it?
(Originally posted January 29, 2012)
Sometimes parents just need to hear that they’re doing an ok job. Look for opportunities to encourage someone with God’s love today.
God can work in simple ways, like an out-of-the-blue text or email from a friend when I’m having a bad day. Allow God to use you like that.
God wants more than lip service. 1 John 3:18 (NIV) says to love others “with actions & truth.” What might that look like in your life today?