How Can I Help?
I must confess. I can be so selfish at times. I honestly believe that is something we can all relate to. It is quite easy to get caught up in the life around us that we never stop to think about matters outside of ourselves, or the rest of the world. I mean, when was the last time you spoke to your next-door neighbor? Do you even know your neighbor?
I recently read an in-depth article entitled "Why Isn't the American Church Growing?" by Kevin J. Turner where he discusses the issue American churches seem to have in comparison to churches in other countries. Long story short, there are more of us doing for ourselves than for others. That really got me thinking. In a week, how much of our time or money can we say we sacrificed for someone other than our own self? This doesn't count the automatic smile/nod you give someone when you both make eye contact in passing. Nor does it count you holding the door for someone and sacrificing your precious time by waiting for them to walk through. I'm talking about really putting effort into doing something that does not benefit you in any way.....at least not intentionally. How many of us volunteer? How many of us actually call our friends and spend time listening to them discuss things going on in their life.....instead of just saying "How are you doing?" in a text message?
I understand how life can wrap you up in routine and make you feel as though you have no 'free' time, but I encourage you to go over a typical week in your life and see how much time you spend on you. Could you have spent any of that time on someone else? Any of it? Serving others is vital for a believer. How could you possibly increase your opportunities to share and spread the Gospel by consistently living in a routine?
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” -Mark 10:45
Jesus is our greatest example of serving others. Jesus knew what His life in human form was going to be all about before He was even born. His whole life's mission was to save someone else.....us. He died for us, y'all! While He was living on Earth, he blessed others, encouraged others, listened to others, prayed for others, healed others, and more. His days never looked exactly the same. As much as people would interrupt Him by stopping Him while He was walking or by coming to where He was resting, it never bothered Jesus. His time was free for all at anytime of day.
Now, I'm not saying you should allow your friends and family to show up at your job unannounced to tell you about their bad day. However, many of us have gotten used to not lending ourselves to meet the needs of others. It seems nowadays we are only willing to help when the person just comes begging directly to us. What about the homeless? Or the sick? Or the blind? Or those who don't even know you, but who still need help?
When God gave us the Bible, He gave us a layout of how we should live our lives. A vast majority of that plan is focusing on others much more than our self. While it can be very hard to figure out ways you can serve, it really just takes that one step of you just starting somewhere. We must be proactive. The Bible doesn't give you a list of sites or phone numbers to organizations that could use your help. That's something you have to go out and find. Just because no one is in your face crying for help, does not mean there isn't a need. Also, do not limit your thinking to only serving in a church capacity. There are so many volunteer opportunities that are not at a church, as well as many unsaved people to love on that you won't meet at church.
SERVING IN YOUR CHURCH
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” -Galatians 5:13
Everyone knows what a benchwarmer is, right? If not, that's someone who just comes to service but has no involvement whatsoever in the church. Singing may not be your way to serve, or even being part of the band, but there is always a way for you to pour back. If the way doesn't exist, maybe you are at that church to create it. It's time for us to become more diligent in seeking ways to serve without anyone having to ask for our help or push us to help.
SERVING ON YOUR JOB
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” –Colossians 3:23-24
Work, for some (or even most), is not always exciting. Some of us may not even be working somewhere we fully enjoy. For many of us, we go to work, do what is required of us, and leave for the day. Even if that is all we typically do on a workday, some of us will go to work with everything on our minds, but work. Whether you're working your dream career, or you're at an in-between kind of job, work "as for the Lord and not for men". EVEN WHEN you don't necessarily see eye to eye with the management staff......"whatever you do", keep in mind who is watching you when no one else is watching, and hopefully that will begin to change your spirit and mentality every day you go to work.
BUT, HOW CAN I HELP?
I've heard people express concerns about helping others. Some of us seem to think that just because there's chaos in areas of our lives that means we are not equipped to be of any help. This is absolutely false and I advise you to get rid of this kind of thinking. It's not about getting your whole life together so that you can finally help someone else. Often times, focusing on someone else other than yourself in times of chaos releases you from worrying so much about your own life (which is selfish and not of God). Jesus is the best example in how we should love and try our best to live, but do not compare yourself to Him. Perfect in every way, we don't come close even on our best day. Jesus never said "be Me" He said "follow Me". No matter how far in our walks with Christ we get, we will always be following His lead. As much as He loves on us, I encourage you to follow Him by loving on someone else.
Speak Up and Out,
Visit her at http://www.shaniquadbrown.com/
Shaniqua's goal is to show women what God will do in their lives when the “secret’s out”. She wants to inspire, encourage, and push women to open their mouths, and also help prepare them for the next phase of life God is calling them to.