God has been convicting me lately. And since writing my thoughts out sometimes helps me make sense of His message, I hope that truth will speak to you as well.
About a year ago our Sunday School class went through a series on discovering one's spiritual gifts. In the course of that study, we discussed how—though God clearly gives us spiritual gifts that we should work within to best serve him—as we seek to become more like Christ, those latent spiritual attributes may be strengthened.
My gift is teaching. My personality is an introvert and organizer. So my joy comes through sharing the truth with others, through organizing tasks, creating and worshiping through introspection. But I am not gifted in investing emotionally with others.
Fast forward to three weeks ago. Our pastor preached on being committed to serve on the battle ship of the church. He meant that as a Christian, as the Church, every person's role is vital. Too many times people are willing to sit on the sidelines and let others do all the work. He was calling us to service. And the greatest service should be to win souls to Christ.
I was convicted. Service I am good at. My time at church is filled with leadership roles in various capacities. But rarely do I take the time to truly connect with people...to take the risk of an emotional tie that might in the end be painful. As I was sharing this conviction with a friend, I made the statement that I don't like to "get my hands messy with other people's lives".
Last night we had the director's clinic for VBS. The message was making connections through our faith. The powerpoint highlighted the importance of getting to know our teachers in order to meet their needs, so that they are free and prepared to share Christ with the children. The speaker said we have to get out of our comfort zones and do what it takes to touch the lives of those children and families God puts in our path.
Then a lady shared her testimony, and at the end of it she said, "We have to invest in the lives of these children, and their families...and sometimes that's messy. But we have to do it. Christ calls us to that!" I couldn't believe she used the same word I had used when describing what I DON'T like to do...but knew I should!
I shared with the leaders of that clinic my experience and asked them to pray with me that God would help me to better connect with people, and that he would put someone in my path with whom I could invest myself and share his love.
God doesn't wait around when you ask him for a field to harvest! Tonight at children's choir we had two children who had not been there before. At the end of choir we shared prayer requests, as always. The little boy spoke up and asked that we pray for his dad who "was in real trouble and that's why they were with DHR." You can imagine the strength that only comes from Christ that enabled me to make it through that prayer calmly. But now I have two children who I will certainly pray for daily, and who I hope I get the chance to share Christ with.
But God wasn't finished tasking me. During adult choir we practiced a song we had sung awhile back...and our director brought out again. The name of the song is "A Little More Like You." It is a prayer—a question—that, at the end of the day, when all is said and done...am I more like you, Lord? There is even a part that asks God to "help us grieve when others grieve, to laugh when others laugh, and for our neighbors to see Jesus in us each day."
That brings me back to the beginning of this post. So my gift is not personal relationships. But I have Christ living in me. And HE is the author of relationships. THROUGH him, I can love, I can minister, I can witness.
In Corinthians 5:11-21, Paul reminds us that now we have Christ in us, we no longer view others as our old selves. God is making us brand new! He is making us more like Christ. And that love should urge us on to tell others of this grand and glorious treasure.
I hope that you will seek to do so as well. Yes, Christ has given us specific gifts, and it is important to know them so we might fill our role on the battle ship to the best of our ability. But he has called ALL of us to "go and tell the world that Christ is Lord." Please pray with me that we will all feel this urgency, and not miss a chance to share the love of Christ to those around us.