Tonight, I was looking through some old files on my computer as I was preparing for an upcoming Bible study. I ran across this document that I wrote years ago. I changed the names for privacy sake, but I wanted to share it with you. I remember this night so vividly and as I read this tonight, it challenged me and made me examine my heart. It reminded me of who we are called to be…
Life is busy!
With our day planners and “to do” lists jam-packed, we are all bombarded with busyness. If I think back on my life, I can hardly remember a time when my life was not busy. What does it take for us to slow down?
In our busy lives, how can we smell the roses if we don’t even have time to notice them?
In the busyness of my day, when I stop to pray and spend time with God, I am once again reminded that there is more to life than my busy schedule. He ever so gently reminds me that no matter how busy I think I am, there are opportunities for me to minister to others.
Unfortunately, most of the time my eyes are so fixed on ME and MY “to do” list, I miss opportunities God places directly in my path to serve others.
I forget that I am called to serve.
God showed me an example of this the other night, after church. It was a cold Wednesday evening, and I was tired. Exhausted from chasing 14 preschoolers around the room, singing “Father Abraham” and “Zacheus”, I was ready to go home.
In my mind, I already had the remainder of my evening planned out with laundry to do, baths to give, day care bags to pack, etc. So when my husband, Bryan, came to me and said we need to give Mrs. Baucom and her granddaughter, Elise, a ride home, I thought to myself…
“I don’t have time for that–isn’t there someone else that can take them home? We do have 2 very small children you know?”
But, since Elise was standing right beside me when Bryan said this, I could not object. So, begrudgingly I smiled and said “ok” and off we went. When we drove up to Elise’s house, I was astonished by the scene in front of my eyes.
I could not believe Elise’s living conditions.
There was garbage everywhere, the yard was full of junk, and the car port was covered with old furniture, boxes, beer cans and anything else you can think of. The house had broken windows and there was a broken down car in the yard with grass growing out of the hood!
My heart sank into the pits of my stomach as now my “to do” list seemed so insignificant.
As Elise thanked us for the ride and went skipping off into her house, I wondered how many opportunities I had missed to minister to her and her family all because I did not know their situation. I did not know anything about her or her parents.
You know why I did not know these things? Because I did not make time to find out (I was too busy with my life)!
This family had needs, but I was so self-absorbed I had not even noticed.
We all know the song “This Little Light of Mine.” It originates from scripture in Matthew 5:14-15 which says:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
Think about that little song and think about how you are living your life.
I wonder if you have been like me?
Have you been placing your light under the bowl of busyness?
Sometime I am so self-absorbed that I am oblivious to the needs of others. Sometimes, I consider myself “too busy” to get to know others and lend a helping hand.
Tonight, God reminded me that I need to get over myself!
Jesus says we are the light of the world, not the light of ourselves!
We must get out there and let our light shine because of Him! We need to make others our priority and get to know them. We need to serve!
My friend, remember to make time to help others; after all, your “to do” list (and mine) can wait.
I’ll never forget it!
Many years ago, after church, an older gentleman approached me and said, “Joy, you are not pretty enough to win a beauty pageant, but I think your personality makes you pretty.”
Wait, what did he just say?
I had no idea how to respond to his statement. Still in confusion that someone would make an effort to come and tell me that I was not pretty, I half-heartedly replied with, “oh, thank you, I think.”
I walked away baffled and feeling very unattractive. I received this man’s statement to mean that while he thought I was nice, he also thought I was ugly. It hurt my feelings, so I responded by being less friendly to him and I avoided him at church.
When someone hurts my feelings, my first reaction is to defend myself and then, to distance myself from that person.
What about you?
When someone hurts your feelings, do you mull over it? Does it cause you to treat that person differently? Do you have unforgiveness in your heart towards that person?
Do you have trouble getting over it?
Now, when I look back on the “beauty pageant” comment, I can see that I was too sensitive. My pride caused me to hold a grudge against this man who was a friend of mine. I had known him for years and we had always had a healthy relationship.
He was not a person who would hurt me on purpose.
After I examined my own heart, I realized I overreacted.
Ecclesiastes 7:20-22 says, “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you—for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
From time to time, we stick our foot in our mouths don’t we? We start a conversation with the best of intentions, and end up saying something we later regret. Sometimes, our words just do not come out right.
It happens to us all.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, we are encouraged not to overreact to every word someone says. We are encouraged not to be sensitive when other people say things that rub us the wrong way. Instead, we are to remember that we, also, say things we later regret.
We all struggle with communication from time to time, so the next time someone else’s words hurt your feelings, be careful not to take it too seriously. Try not to hold every word against them.
Remember this verse in Ecclesiastes. Extend a little mercy and have a heart that is quick to forgive.
Grateful for you!
God does not look at what man looks at. God judges the motives of our hearts. (Proverbs 16:2)
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
Can’t you image this scene? People are coming to give their money to the temple treasury and Jesus is watching. Some would say the bigger the bag of money, the better the person. Others may say the more money you give, the greater the sacrifice.
As Jesus watches the crowd bring their offering, he knows what lies deep within their hearts. He can see what others cannot see.
Jesus knows their life stories.
As the widow places her two coins into the treasury, she is no stranger to Jesus. He knows everything about her. He knows she is poor and that she is giving all she has. Jesus knows the gravity of her sacrifice.
Today, I want you to remember that God sees your whole story. There is nothing hidden from His sight. (Hebrews 4:13)
He knows every battle you are fighting.
He knows the struggles you’re having with your sister. He knows how insecure you feel about your body. He sees you go into your closet, in secret, to cry. He knows every failure you have experienced, every sin you have committed. He knows how you worry. He knows every doubt and fear that keeps you awake at night.
God knows when you are exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually.
But you know what else He knows?
He knows when you give your all to serve Him. He hears you when you praise Him through song, in your car. He listens as you pray for your friend. He sees you read your Bible. He watches as you stand for righteousness. He knows about the meal you brought to a friend. He saw you give extra money, in secret, to help a stranger. He knows how hard you work, serving at church and in the community.
God sees everything. Not only does He know what you do, He knows why you do those things.
I wonder if you ever feel like the widow who only had two coins to give. I wonder if you sometimes feel that your contribution to God’s kingdom is insignificant.
Sometimes I feel like that.
Sometimes the enemy whispers in my ear, “Someone else can do it better than you, Joy.” or “Why do you keep trying when you never get it right? Joy, you should quit.”
When you begin to doubt your contribution to the kingdom of God, you need to stop and remember that the enemy is a liar!
Here is the Truth:
God knows everything you are going through, and like the widow, sometimes you only have two coins to offer Him.
Put what you have into His kingdom’s treasury my friend, and trust that He will use you for His purpose, His will, and His glory!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” ~Isaiah 6:8