Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 9: Getting Closer to Those In Need


Yesterday I shared how God spoke to me about my self-centered and prideful attitude. How He lovingly reminded me that it's not about me at all. It's all about Him.

So the question is -- where do I fit into the equation? Should it be God first in my life, then myself in a close second? Examining my actions on a given day, you might think so. But no, God wants me to place the needs of others before my own. So really it's God first, others second, then I come in a far third.

Now as a mother of four, some days I can get by with looking like others are far more important than myself. After all, the majority of my day is consumed by the needs of my husband and four kiddos. I'm constantly serving them: washing and folding laundry, grocery shopping, cooking meals and running my kids to and fro throughout the day. And that doesn't even include interacting, talking and playing with them!

But my life's got to include serving others beyond my family. I've got to "Give Myself Away" to people in my community and even around the world. As a matter of fact, God expects me to give of myself to those in need, as if I were doing it for Him.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:34-40

God considers our sacrifice of time, money and energy on behalf of others, as ministry directly to Him. What are some practical ways to do this? I don't have enough space here to include everything that can be done, but here's a list of some things I've done in recent years:

  • Giving financially to charitable organizations (in addition to regular church offerings)
  • Mentoring a middle school girl with an absent father and an incarcerated mother
  • Serving on missions teams to a girls' home in Ghana, West Africa and an orphanage in Brazil
  • Founding an orphan care ministry and mentoring prospective adoptive couples
  • Supporting my husband in his pastoral ministry, while using my gifts and talents to bless church members and visitors
Honestly as I read my list, I feel like I haven't done nearly enough. Maybe it's the conviction to prayerfully do more during my remaining years here on earth. But what I have done, I've done out of the overflow of the love and grace God has poured into my life.

Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren (author of Purpose Driven Life) spent years searching for her PURPOSE in Christ. She loved supporting her husband as he worked to build a thriving, mega-church in Orange County, California, but she believed God had a greater purpose for her. After praying and seeking God, He began to break her heart for those infected with and/or affected by HIV and AIDS. Through her book, Dangerous Surrender, Kay has challenged me to pursue my PURPOSE in this hurting world.
 "In what ways are you allowing God to rearrange your schedule, your finances, your affections, so that you can regularly interact with those he loves?" says Kay. "Perhaps you give money to a church or a charitable organization -- it's a great beginning step, but it's not enough. Giving financially loosens the grip of materialism and selfishness that we all struggle with, but it can be a way of quieting our conscience while keeping our distance from those in need. Can you point to the sick, the poor, the prisoner, the orphan, the widow, the immigrant you are personally ministering to in Jesus' name? If not, it's time to make some dramatic adjustments in your life."
 Okay, if you can't say "Amen" say "Ouch"! How convicting is this? Can you point to the needy people that you are ministering to? Can you reach out and touch them? Can you hold their precious faces in your hands, and look them eye to eye? If not, you've got to get closer. I've got to get closer -- in Jesus' name.

I'm praying that God will bring me closer to those that need the overflow of love and grace that's been poured into me by the Savior. Will you pray the same?

Purposed for Him,

Carla

8 comments:

  1. How convicting! Ouch is right. I'm so glad that we're moving to Richmond, California. I hope that I will be able to hold more precious faces in my hands and tell them how wonderful and special they are.

    Thanks for the challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Monique! I'm sure that's exactly why God's moving you guys to Richmond, CA. He's going to get you up close and personal to a lot of hurting folks. Can't wait to see how He's going to use you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I will have to say, "OUCH!" Such a good post friend. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, I said ouch too! Thanks Michelle. Love you too, Girl!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this challenge - and the conviction! It's living out loud - every single day! Thanks Carla!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Toomany distractions in life! OUCH all over!!!! I am getting warmed up. Thanks for the inspiration. I read "The Purpose Driven Life" in '05, and, although it was powerful, I wasn't primed to that kind of seeing things. Then last Fall I was in a group that showed snippets hete and there of people that were reaching out to the poor and sick and I saw an interview of Mrs. Warren. What a shift from a perfectly compplete life by human standards to a shocking realization of the need for advocates who would go full blast for HIV/AIDS people/ children, and her being in the center of that. I might get that on audio to listen to as I do chores. This stage of life is way too crammed up with "stuff" that (at least in my case) interferes with sitting down and reading. Kudos for you for finding time for all your duties ("God, others/ service, and then you) and for being so well-read and sharing here. Good Night and God Bless you and you and your husband's ministry AND your kids and all that they are in training to be in their adult livesw thanks to your Godly parenting wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Zarina, thanks for sharing your heart too! So good to get to know you.

    ReplyDelete