When my husband and I were planning our wedding 19 years ago, we struggled a little with what church we would plug into once we were married. Trevor had grown up in and was still attending a traditional Southern Baptist church. I was involved with a contemporary Vineyard church. We both loved our churches and worship styles, so we needed to find a church that would be a good compromise. We landed on a Southern Baptist church that had contemporary worship music and solid, biblical teaching. It was just what we needed. We grew there, made some life-long friends, and had opportunities to pour out, too, by leading some Bible studies about finances.
Three years into our marriage, my dad, a local Vineyard pastor, met with us and asked if we would pray about coming to lead the youth group at his church. We decided that God was leading us in that direction, so since 2000, we have been part of The Gainesville Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Once our own children started coming along, however, we passed the youth group on to others and have ministered in various other ways. Our kids have been blessed to grow up in my parents’ church, with Papa as their pastor.
Trevor and I have four children (plus one in Heaven). Our oldest is Caleb, born in 2002. He is the oldest of my parents’ 11 grandchildren. On April 19 last year, the Sunday before Caleb’s 13th birthday, my dad called Caleb in front of the church to pray a blessing over him–not only a pastor’s blessing but a grandfather’s blessing. Trevor stood with them and prayed a father’s blessing over Caleb as well.
As they were praying, I felt a prompting to capture the moment by taking this picture with my phone. I’m so glad I did.
Two weeks later, on May 4, my dad was killed in a hit-and-run crash by an intoxicated driver while cycling near his home. I will always treasure this picture and the memory of what Dad did for Caleb. He felt God leading him to acknowledge Caleb’s transition into manhood by praying over him. I’m so thankful that he didn’t hesitate.
We face situations every day in which we could minister to others. Maybe the grumpy cashier at the grocery store, who is obviously having a bad day (or a bad life), could use a word of encouragement. Perhaps the person behind us in the drive-thru line would appreciate our paying for his meal. Or maybe we should take a moment to write a note to (or better yet, visit) an older person who struggles with loneliness.
There are countless ways that God prompts us to reach out to those who need a touch from Him. We are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth, so God uses us to accomplish His purposes here. Do we listen for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit leading us as we go about our business, or are we too busy and distracted to look outward to the needs of others? When we do sense God leading us to step out, do we hesitate or do we obey?
I’m certainly guilty of hesitating or of missing the moment because I’m too inward focused at times. It takes effort to reach out to others when life is already hard and full. I wonder how many times I have missed the blessing of being used by God because I was consumed by what was going on in my own life and circumstances and didn’t obey His direction.
Here are some verses that might help us to be more intentional about ministering to others as we go about our business each day:
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14
“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
“A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
Let’s be intentional about obeying the promptings of the Lord without hesitation, so that we can help to bring about His Kingdom here on earth. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Jesus to return for His Church. I believe the more we help accomplish His purposes here, the sooner He will come for us. Come, Lord Jesus!
P.S. I want to let you all know about my husband’s brand new book, The Miracle and Magnificence of America. If you don’t already have a copy, check it out here. I know that I’m biased, but it’s a super amazing account of God’s hand on this nation, from the very beginning to the modern age. He discusses how we have strayed from our founding principles and what we can do to turn the tide. I hope you enjoy it!