Questions to ponder:
In the past, how has God lead you to serve someone in a way that was not quite how you would have expected?
What can you do today to serve someone else without spending a dime?
How have you benefited or been blessed by God after serving someone else?
If you haven't yet, please head over to the well to hear Amy's great God story of how He led her to serve someone. She begins her story by PRAYER. I think that is THE single most important thing about serving.
We need to be in prayer, asking God to see people and situations from His eyes. I love the Brandon Heath song, "Give Me Your Eyes". Sometimes we can become so busy in life that we don't even SEE the opportunities He has placed right before our eyes. The neighbor who needs a friend, the coworker going through a difficult time, the Target clerk who looks so sad, a friend going through a divorce, our aging parents..... Am I too busy going to softball, T-ball, swim practice, bible study, dance, soccer......that I miss the hurting people right in front of me? Some people have been called to the mission fields in third world countries, but ALL of us have a mission field right in front of us! We don't have to travel anywhere to help those God has placed in our path.
When we are still before God, He will whisper to our hearts the people to reach out to. MY PROBLEM is finding the time! He gives me a great idea and I put it on the back burner until so much time passes that I either forget or don't do it. An example... a neighbor who just moved in last summer had a baby recently. One morning, praying and walking, God placed on my heart to reach out to her- invite her to church, bring a small baby gift to her. Well, I have had the gift and card on my dining room table for two weeks now! I still need to write out the card and walk down to her house. For me, I have to make sure that I don't schedule SERVING Him in little ways right out of my schedule!
But, when I am in an attitude of constant prayer, and sensitive to His Holy Spirit, He will bring opportunities in the midst of the busy-ness. For example, I can help the coach pick up the equipment after practice, help out at the swim meet, and walk down a gift to a neighbor DURING my fitness/prayer walk. Spending some time to be still and quiet before God will help me to have His eyes to see the needs He sees.
One way God has led me to bless a friend has been to pass along my girls' clothes to her. I was going through some clothing and contemplating having a garage sale when God whispered, "Give them to Jaynie." I thought I could sell the clothing, make some money and then buy the girls some new clothes. Well, instead, I gave the clothes to my friend and she continues to tell me how much she appreciates it. She is a single mom and can't afford to buy her girls clothing. God has multiplied MY blessing by leading friends and relatives to bring ME clothes for my girls.
The one thing that I need to be careful about is remembering that I want to FIRST serve my family. I am the type of person (hmmm....Martha?) who would answer every email to help, make dinners for people every night of the week, and find myself volunteering for every need that comes my way.
God convicted me of this when I read the book, "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. She told a story of a mom making a gourmet meal for a someone else while throwing together hot dogs for her own family. OUCH! That "story" sounded a bit too familiar! It was then that I realized that God has called me to FIRST serve my family, showing them love and attention. My kids had gotten in the habit to ask before eating desserts and cookies, "Are these for us or someone else?" OUCH, OUCH!! I don't want them to see a God who "takes away from them" to give to someone else. Don't get me wrong. They understand that we sacrifice and give and love others and help the needy. They understand that we are blessed so much. But, I need to be careful that in loving and serving others, I don't neglect my FIRST ministry- my husband and my children.
Again, that is why PRAYER is so important. God will lead us and direct us and help us find the balance.
I would love to hear YOUR story of serving and your thoughts about serving Him. Please join us at the well today. I would love to read your comments as well!