Broadening my horizons

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This week I decided to make myself available to the people who attend my church. I just put out a Facebook message to all of them (It’s easy…because we’re in a “group”) letting them know that I would be available this week to help them out if they needed it.

I have a to do list as usual for any given week…but I knew most of the stuff I’m doing is not life and death stuff.  I thought an offer to babysit, or do yard work or help someone clean, etc. might be something that was a real encouragement to the people I am trying to live in community with at my church.

It helps that our preacher has been preaching about community and doing life together. That’s where the idea got planted.

It also helps that right now I’m putting together a sermon from 1 Thess 2: 1-10 and one of the verses in that section says “We not only shared the gospel with you but our very lives.” Got me to thinking…I share a lot of gospel time with these people…but not much of my “very life” time.

This is what happened.

A couple who doesn’t have transportation needed a ride to their doctor appointment and to the local Wic office. I had just met this couple on Sunday. So…today we road around together and got to know each other a bit. It was fascinating because they are from a different culture. India. To hear their story of coming to American and about their family and plans for the future was really a great way to get to know them better. In one afternoon I became friends with them in what would’ve taken me easily several weeks if not months to acquire with church alone.

I learned about arranged marriages and about U.S. citizenship and other various issues.

Real people. Cute baby. Me given an opportunity to help. It cost me nothing. But today I shared my very life with them.

It occurred to me on Sunday when our Pastor spoke that I need to listen to the Holy Spirit guide me each week when we gather and see if He is bringing any need to my attention that I might be able to help fill. A great perk of being on sabbatical is the freedom I have to help someone else. I’m not feeling like I’ve got to wring every moment out of this summer and an afternoon given to someone else is a major inconvenience. Instead…it was very interesting/rewarding.

I have to wonder how many weeks/months/years have gone by when I would’ve never dreamed of putting out my time and services without first seeing a need. When I would’ve felt that kind of freedom to give with no strings attached, just a desire to be a blessing.

I don’t want to make more of it than it was. It was a car ride, some time, some conversation. Nothing huge. But today I blessed a couple from India and made them feel loved and cared for. Living in a town this far from home is a big deal. They commented to me how much their family and friends are amazed at the kindness of “strangers” here in our church and town. Just yesterday their neighbor gave them a stroller.

If I was in a foreign place with a new little baby I would see God as people gave me practical help. I believe that’s what they’re seeing. And they even told me how lovely of a singer I am 🙂

I hope this freedom to bless others will continue. Not a forced thing or through a program…just through flexibility and availability.

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