Some of you may be old enough to recall the immensely popular Bible study from the 90’s called “Experiencing God”. It was the first “real” Bible study I ever did and I have recently revisited it after nearly 30 years.
The thread that runs throughout is that we should not focus on what God wants us to do for Him but rather be willing to join Him in what He is already doing. The ability to identify where God is at work requires an attunement borne only out of deep intimacy with Him. I can think of no clearer personification of this kind of intimacy than Carole Ward, who shared her missionary experience in Africa with us.
If you were not able to be in church on Sunday, please watch the recording or visit www.favorintl.org. What Carole shared will inspire and astound you. She prayed that God would send her where no one wants to go, and He certainly did.
The spiritual discipline highlighted this week is Service. Though missionaries are typically the Christians we imagine to have earned their “black belt” in serving, other more common ways of serving, are no less vital. The body of Christ is the church and is made up of many members. As outlined in 1 Corinthians 12, the body is depicted as having many parts, none of which can function independently of the others. And none more necessary than another. Paul writes that “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be”.
Every Christian is a part of this body and we all have a part to play, in accordance with our gifts, resources, and opportunities. 1 Corinthians 12 concludes with a partial list of the roles in the church followed by the rhetorical question, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” The implication is that of course, members of the body are not called to do all of these things. But we are each called to do something. In the description of the body, there is no option to be a non-functioning member. When we don’t play our part, the rest of the body suffers. The kingdom of God suffers.
As a LIFE Fellowship volunteer shared from the stage a few weeks ago, sometimes we serve because there is a need and other times we serve because we are called. I will help decorate the lobby for Christmas because there is a need. I write for the devotional team because I am called. But the point is to have a continual mindset of availability so that we are ready to serve whenever the Lord taps us. It may be a calling to the mission field. It may be a willingness to hold babies in the nursery. It may be a responsiveness to the Spirit’s prompting to speak up, show up, or stand up for others. It may be answering a call to prayer or a call to action. The work He has crafted for you is uniquely yours and utterly indispensable.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he admonishes him, and those who would follow, to “be ready in and out of season.” This means that whether it’s planned or unplanned, convenient or inconvenient, comfortable or uncomfortable; we need to be ready to serve. And we need to be so intimately connected with God that we hear His voice and recognize His movement. When He calls, whether it be to Uganda, to the local soup kitchen, to the church nursery, to the home of a lonely shut-in, or to our own prayer closet, may we be quick to say, as in Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I; send me.”
~ Melissa Gibbs has been a member of LIFE Fellowship for over 10 years, is the mother to four boys and widow of the late JD Gibbs.