From Banquet To Feast (Part II)
Last post I was discussing with you the banquet I recently had attended in which our head pastor had a shared a very important video with us reminding us of why it is we serve in the church.
In this video shared were just a few testimonials of members who had moved to Florida and began attending a brand new church on faith. Some of these members were young and others were old. I could not help, but be touched by how they went from nothing, lacking vision, in despair, without hope to having vision, dreams, and purpose again. Each shared one common denominator, ‘whatever you do, there is a person out there who needs your help, don’t give up.’ Such a simple, yet powerful sentence.
It didn’t hit me right away, but as I was driving home, it hit me that our family had a similar encounter. It wasn’t just roughly 6 months ago that we had moved across the country, had a horrible experience with moving, the hours and pay that my husband was promised, he didn’t receive. Fortunately, I had hit my biggest month in business since beginning to work for myself and we were able to live on that income. We as a family, had questioned our decision to move here, but then there was our church. It was a family atmosphere and everyone was incredibly loving, welcoming us into their home. The more we attended and got connected to the life groups and activities in the church, the more at home we felt and the more at ease we were in feeling confident that our move was purposed. We were also closer to family and hubby eventually had landed himself a full time job with benefits and has since earned two promotions inside of 90 days. Our daughter also ended up in an incredible school that is giving her the resources and hope for both her an us as parents. I look at all the blessings that transpired that would not have had we not relocated and it absolutely was a God thing on total FAITH!
The next day at church, I arrived early to serve in hospitality. The coffee and lemonade were set out early and my daughter and I were able to enjoy a time of worship before I sent her off to children’s church. I went to sit for service, first seat in the second row so I could make excellent eye contact with our pastor while taking notes as he spoke. I liked being up front, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything in the sermon! A lady next to me reached out to me to say hello. I looked down and realized I had my badge on, which made me an ‘official’ volunteer of our church ready to reach out and serve! As it turns out, she was looking to relocate from California back to Michigan to be closer to her family, the same reason we were looking at relocating originally. There were many parallels to our stories. Then came the biggest question, ‘how did you know?’ You could see it in her eyes, the look of conviction that she knew what decision to make and where the Lord was clearly guiding her. She had filled out a prayer card which I encouraged her to take to the back at the end of the service. We, myself included, wanted t encourage her and pray alongside of her as she finishes up an old chapter in her life and begins a new one. The excitement and anticipation of a new life, in a new area, it can also be a time of anxiety and big unforeseen change; it’s literally jumping, leaping off the cliff in FAITH.
The point being, the words I was able to speak into her life that morning. I almost didn’t make it that morning due to a snow storm the evening before, but something in me after watching that video, did it all for me. I was so eager, ready to serve that morning with purpose knowing that if God could change my life and the life of my family through this church, surely there was someone that I could speak life into and pay it forward the way its members had our family when we first began attending and then there was her, the one God used my story to encourage. I am so excited to see her journey unfold and to speak with her more when she moves back and begins coming to our church on a more permanent basis. What if I had not shown that morning? Then I heard the words, ‘don’t give up, there is someone that needs your help’. I am so glad I listened and braved the snow that morning!
It was as though snow no longer seemed so significant. In that moment I realized one of the biggest breakthroughs of my own personal life and conviction had hit. Every Sunday each of us serves in that church, we are laying our life out there to care for the needs of someone else who may need our help. If we don’t take the time to connect and embrace the moment, it might just pass us by. Why is this the case? True leadership means we practice putting ourselves last so that in due season He, the Lord may elevate us in the timing He sees fit in the way He sees best. He who is first, must first learn to be the last one at what he does. Leadership is not self-serving self-fulfilling prophecy. Leadership at it’s finest and grandest of moments is in the needs of others and how we as servants choose to fill the need. That moment I saw her beaming face, I knew I had something special to share in the Lord with, that one defining moment was worth every moment I served and I am so grateful to have not missed the opportunity. Leader would never be leader without setting aside the needs and wants of self, for another’s life. Servant must be in effect first and learn the maturity and the gifts of what it takes to walk in God’s leadership. To be a servant means relationship and the other person first and the leadership will follow.
If we give our life to God and to live according to His ways, it is a commandment not a choice to be willing to serve the needs of others around you and to lift them up with you; this is what Christ did and He paid it all so we could live unconditionally with free will. When we choose to serve him, we are showing someone who needs hope what unconditional love looks like through the physical demonstration and setting of example of loving on someone who is truly in need; this defines the definition friends of what truly means to ‘lead by example.’ Until next time….