18 Sep Stepping Outside the EASY
Ministry is “easy” when you are sitting in an air-conditioned house writing a bible study in front of your computer. But what happens when a hurricane hits? Literally. Ministry can get messy. Ministry can push you out of your comfort zone and into a place where you have choices to make.
“How CAN I help?” How can I step outside the easy and into the messy?
While our immediate family was not seriously impacted by Hurricane Irma, our friends and family were greatly affected. Flooded homes. Totaled cars. No Electricity. Office moves. Major decisions to be made.
That’s when Curry and I had an idea.
Curry placed an order for 100 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches which we handed out to anyone in need. Whether it was a JEA employee working tirelessly to get electricity back or a tree surgeon reaching another family’s need to get a tree removed. Whether it was a family overwhelmed by the complete loss of their home, or a yard crew working overtime to do a job well done. We delivered 100 sandwiches – which seems like a lot, but we could have passed out hundreds more.
I want to make it clear that this post is not about Curry or me. It’s about receiving a conviction and stepping out from the easy and into the messy. I have to admit, I’ve had convictions before that were left to my own thoughts and died right there. The “I-should-haves” and the “I-would-haves” saw little playing time on the field of “Just Do It.” Not this time. I was not about to let my fears get the best of me.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
We stepped out. I was a little scared. A little excited. A little hesitant. But my first delivery to a grateful JEA worker solved the dilemma. The smile and appreciation on his face gave me the gumption to find more people to bless. I mean, who doesn’t smile when they are given a Chick-Fil-A sandwich?
I think we ALL will admit that it’s easier to hear God’s Word, delight in it, write about it, and even chew upon its meaning. Today, it’s popular to illustrate it, doodle it in our Bibles, Google it, and perhaps journal about it. But DO IT? That’s a whole different ball-game. Do I dare DO God’s Word and actually love my neighbor as I love myself?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31 (NIV)
Do I dare help others clean up their yards and help my friends move their life savings into a mobile storage unit? Do I dare send an e-mail to make our house available, loan our generator, or use our resources to buy sandwiches and bless those God puts in my path?
Jacksonville did. I am so proud and thankful for our community who dared. I’m thankful for our pastor, Jon Lovelady, who walked door to door with a chainsaw asking how he could help. I am so thankful for church friends offering meals, doing laundry, and providing free childcare.
I am also thankful for a husband who pulled the trigger to my thoughts and bought sandwiches to hand out.
In all reality, handing out sandwiches doesn’t take out the sadness or the mess. It might not even make a dent into the monstrosity of this event. But asking God, and ourselves, how we can help is a start. If we all do our tiny part, we can bring hope into this world.
Thank goodness Irma is gone, but there is much to be done. Yes. We live in a broken world where hurricanes happen and life gets unraveled. But we also have a God who is trustworthy and faithful.
“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4 (NIV)
And in the midst of His Sovereignty, He uses broken people like you and me to lead people back to trust in Him for ALL things – even when we do not understand or cannot see ahead.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
God has given each of us resources and gifts to help His people, to serve the kingdom of God, and to bring Him honor and glory.
“The service that you do helps the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing with many expressions of thanks to God. The service that you do is proof of your faith. Many people praise God because of it. They will praise God because you follow the good news of Christ-the gospel you say you believe in.” 2 Corinthians 9:12-13 (ICB)
Today, take the time you have, the ability you have, and the love you have and STEP OUT. Open your eyes and hearts and lean into God’s leading. Don’t be afraid. There are people in your immediate path who you can help. Don’t wait to be asked. Step into the conviction and BE THE HELP. DO God’s Word.
Show God’s love and point people to Him. Even if He calls you to give a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. (With sauce of course!)