Also titled: Do Your Freaking JOB
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. -GALATIANS 5:13
So multiple times this week, I’ve heard ministry leaders mention needing help, seen them actively request help with no response, and also seen one struggling with what to do because people are quitting the teams she leads because she is passionate and <<gasp>> has come up with plans to move the needle and engage them. How dare ANYONE CARE about the future of their communities enough to take action and seek help as they have been CALLED TO DO BY GOD HIMSELF?!?!?!
I know. What are these jerks thinking? They’re already making millions trying to save souls and feed the hungry, care for the widows and orphans, etc. etc. etc. and they have the audacity to ask us to SERVE. We’re busy being healthy, driving the cars, living in the houses, and raising the children God entrusted us with to steward and steward well, and someone has the nerve to say we are supposed to share some of that time and good health and those assets back to the one who gave them to us in the first place. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!
No I’m not kidding you. The children’s bible study that we view as glorified babysitting is potentially the only peaceful hour that kid gets all week. They come full of joy that they have a safe place, and hear about a father who loves them versus the one who may not be present or may not love them.
This isn’t me screeching, though. This is a love letter, actually. This is a love letter to the people who answer this call.
You see, I always would have friends tell me they felt called to foster or adopt, and I would say “I’ll be praying for y’all, and please let me know if you need anything, but we’ve never felt the call.” About a year ago, God heard me say that for the last time, and July 19, 2016, we literally got a phone call.
Over the next year, we found ourselves fighting tooth and nail for a beautiful child of God who at times, didn’t even want to be with us, because she had no idea who we were. We learned that her life and that of so many others stood at the mercy of a broken system that was neither timely nor certain. Two days ago, I learned of yet one more hurdle to jump, and found myself crying out to God in agony, a blubbering mess. I was ready to right a venomous article about a system that was committed to nothing and ill-equipped to solve a never-ending problem.
In that moment, though, God spoke. I was driving down the road trying to understand the method as to which I was supposed to climb through the newest hope in our battle to be her parents and how I was going to lose it online about the whole thing, when God said ‘It’s your own fault. It’s your own fault because you are part of a broken body.’ This broken body, his body. Designed to be a well-oiled machine had become fat and lazy and lukewarm. I and the rest of the body had become so #blessed and #busy that we no longer did our jobs effectively, and we expected someone else to do it for us.
In that moment, God humbled me, and made it clear that a broken system surrounding an issue the government should have never needed to take responsibility for would never be right. An agency could never achieve the vision of love and family God called forth in his people, yet we expect it to be done and be done well by others. I am working through a system of which I am one of the creators, and if we aren’t careful in our service, we could all find ourselves dealing with the ramifications of our laziness and distraction.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. – Galatians 6:8-9
The bad news is really bad, and the good news is really good, but there is no longer a middle in this world, and we need to understand that the small acts of faith and our walk carry MAJOR weight in a heavenly battle. Each step we take as part of the body could be a step toward eradication of a battle the enemy has started entirely.
Let’s start with children. Children are the future of this world we live in, and let’s face it, when we are asking where we are and what day it is, they’ll be the ones deciding our care and what to do with us. 43% of children today are growing up in a home without their father and roughly a quarter of them will watch a parent go through not one but TWO divorces. So almost half of the kids in a small group, sunday school or other ministry, are walking in the door not fully understanding the concept of a father who is always with them and loves them unconditionally, and we don’t see the weight of the role we play in, as believers, telling them they are AMAZING and FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE by an omnipresent father in heaven?! This conviction today made me think twice about saying I was unavailable to serve some days when I was called. Thank you to every single person who gets it, hears the call and goes. You have already changed an entire future- in many cases before the opportunity for mistakes arise.
Adolescents. Where to begin. People say they’re sassy or difficult to handle, or that they don’t want to serve this demographic because they don’t have experience in it. Is their life worth it? Between drug use and suicide, by the way suicide rates have doubled in female adolescents in the last ten years and increased 30% in males over that same time, those of you who take the risk of awkward interaction for a bit to build a relationship with these kids in any capacity deserve a medal. The most amazing thing about those of you that get on the level with this age group and love them, have no small task in telling them “you are not a statistic. You are amazing and were made to do amazing things.” The world is telling them everything on the contrary and that everyone their age is doing everything to the contrary. You are an amazing line of defense in teaching them that no, not everyone is doing it, and you will be a beautiful story of God’s love.
Worship. Teaching people to worship at every age seems simple, but it’s not. No matter if it’s in a park or in a church, if you’ve been given the gift of leading people in this or just demonstrating it by example, the beauty of perfect commune with the spirit in that moment, when you can feel God’s presence with you, as if you’re alone, is unmatched. The ability to both teach people this and make it ok for them to get lost in that moment and be unashamed in praising the God of all creation is an important peace in leading people into a relationship with the savior.
I could go on and on, but I have never been more convicted in my life about our job to love and give like no one else, and I have been so guilty of wearing the right thing, saying the right thing, but conveniently skirting doing the right thing. It is time we walked those words God gave us all the way through.
I personally had check the boxes, signed up to help with this or that and do some charity work, and I still had the audacity to say that I had not been called to do something. Now I know that I don’t know anything, that his grace if sufficient, and we are supposed to give what we can wherever we can.