I think sometimes we think service is about us. About the time we donate, the lives we are able to impact, but it’s not.
Over winter break I was privileged to go to the Philippines. I had grown up hearing the “cliche phrase ” when you go on a mission trip you learn more then you teach. I rejected this as something people just say. I was going there to teach and help, I was giving up my winter break to go to the Philippines and help the Christians there. I was going there and I would make myself useful. Do you notice anything in the above couple sentences? They are all about me and how “I” would help people instead of being about how God can use me in others lives. With a red face I type this because this is how I approached my trip to the Philippines. Did I want to help people, yes, but I forgot that it’s not really about me, but about God working through me that makes the difference. I was instead relying on my so called “assets” that I felt would be useful.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
Instead of dwelling on what “I” could do I should have remembered the fact that Christ dwells inside of me and that is what makes it possible for me to help others.
The feminist movement is telling us as women that we are capable of anything. And I agree that we can do anything, but not on our own.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
If God is working through us that is what makes everything possible. We as girls can be very guilty of this. Oftentimes we forget how much God is needed in our life and how everything we do is made possible by him working through us. I know oftentimes when I attempt to do things on my own I end up a bumbling mess on the floor. Instead if we are following God’s will for our lives then everything we do, will be his will for us and part of His plan.
For It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
When I let go and didn’t worry about trying do the best “I” could do in the Philippines, but instead let Christ direct my actions and put him first and foremost, surprise, surprise, amazing things happened. Letting God direct our steps is hard. It is hard to let go of our will and convince ourselves that we aren’t capable of doing everything on our own despite when the lies of the world tell us otherwise.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, ” who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;
When I realized it wasn’t about me serving people my faith grew. I was able to show up to a church service and while listening to the evangelist learn, for the first time, that in twenty minutes or so I would be teaching a Sunday school class. I didn’t have to be worried about what I was going to say because I knew God would give me words.
It probably helped that I was surrounded by some of best examples of servants I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The Filipinos love of others and desire to truly serve them not only in material things, but in bringing them to Christ was truly humbling. Their desire to share Christ with the people around them blew me away. They showed me every day how much I take my “easy ” faith in America for granted. I wasn’t that worried about my lost friend or relative, but they were. Jesus is concerned about the salvation of the people in our lives and that means we should be too.
As Christians we need to be trying to share everything we know about God with others. They showered Christ’s love into my life and in comparison to how much the Filipinos helped grow my faith, what I did was so minimal. Even though I am home now, I try to keep the love and service that was shown to this crazy Alaskan in my mind and serve others by putting God first and wanting to love other people because of how much God has shown love to me. In the Philippines my mind shifted from how much I could do for people, to what the true heart of service should look like, and how much of God’s love I could exude in my actions and words.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:13-17