Monday, November 4th
Grateful for Growth: Stretch Me Lord
But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Matthew 14: 16-19
In this Biblical account, we see the disciples with Jesus coming upon a crowd of over 5000 people who are hungry and are needing food and clearly it was not within the disciples’ ability to feed them. The disciples were working outside of their collective strengths and Jesus had them right where He wanted them. Though they could not see past the bread baskets, Jesus could. This is the sweet spot with the Lord, when we can no longer rely on ourselves and we have to trust Him, walking by faith and not by our own strength, cleverness or insights. Jesus also made what the disciples could not make, (the loaves and fishes) He provides what we can’t make or create on our own.
There have been instances in my life where I assessed my situation and concluded quickly; there is no way out, this is too big or too complicated for me to fix and actually I was right, BUT I failed to turn to God and ask for Him to take over. I have also faced ministry or serving opportunities and concluded, “oh that is not for me, I could never do that…..” when in reality, the things that scare us the most or we fear are usually where God wants us to step in to. Again, it is these moments when we can no longer rely on self and are stretched into HIS strength, HIS power, HIS words.
This year my word is WIDEN. Unusual, I know. I thought it would be the widening of my heart and widening of Soul Sister local groups, spreading across the country, I could just picture it! However, up to this point that has not occurred. In July, I went to Bible study and a friend in our class, Lisa Maleav said that she had wanted to go to the Resurrection House to volunteer but it has always scared her. The Resurrection House is a place for the homeless in Sarasota to get a shower, get laundry done, get reprieve from the heat, have a meal or meet with a counselor. Without even thinking, I told her that I would go with her. I am not the type to just speak out. In fact, I always analyze the conversation in my mind and many times I stay silent. Fast forward….we went and had a tour that she arranged with the volunteer director. My senses were in overload…what I saw, what I smelled, what I heard. I wasn’t sure this was for me. The director asked me where I pictured myself and I promptly answered “counselor”. This truly was the Holy Spirit speaking on my behalf. The next week, we showed up to volunteer and Lisa was in the shower area and I was a counselor. Yikes, I had no background in counseling but I was hired. Ha! Fast forward 3 months….every Thursday, I call the client’s name (the homeless) over the paging system back to my designated office space and we talk. I listen, I listen. I ask how I might help them for today and I usually hear most of their life story. I hear life stories that are beyond what we can comprehend. I want so badly to help them or fix their situation and then the Lord quietly reminds me, “that is My job.” I am like a sign post, I simply point them to Him. The BEST part of counseling the homeless is that most of them already know Jesus and He is the one that has comforted them while they were alone or were cold or who they talked to while trying to fall asleep. They bless me and they don’t even know it, the body of Christ truly is a miracle!
So how about you? Have you felt a nudge, a calling, a point where you thought, “how in the world do they minister to them? The homeless, the abused, the orphans, the mentally ill…the list goes on. Well guess what, it might just be you….because God works His best and accomplishes His will when it is beyond your ability! We can say yes and we don’t need to know the outcome, we can rest that Jesus has His hand in it and all will be ok.
For further reading: Isaiah 54:2, John 3:30, Deuteronomy 15:11.
We praise you for who you are, our almighty and wonderful God. We confess that many times we are uncomfortable with not being in the know and we don’t like living by faith. We want to know the outcome before we begin. Give us a faith that is larger than we are! Fill us with the Holy Spirit to see what you see and a desire to minister in areas that cause us to squirm. For it is then that we encounter You in a mighty way, our loving and all powerful God. In Jesus name, Amen.