In a moment, I’ll tell you what the Lord did to me this week–and warn you it’s something He delights in doing to us!
The reason some of God’s children find the Christmas season endlessly boring and monotonous is they have forgotten one huge fact: It’s not about you.
We need to get out of our hour or God’s house and share His love with others.
Consider writing something…
–Write a check–a big one, larger than anyone expects–for a ministry that is touching the world for Jesus.
–Write a check–a small check if that’s all you can do–for a ministry that is touching someone for the Lord you couldn’t.
–Write a note to someone who could use a word of thanks or encouragement or cheer. Tell them how special they are to you, or remind them of something they once did or said that lingers with you to this day. Hand write it, don’t type it.
–Write a one or two sentence testimony of what the Lord means to you and post it on Facebook. Try to get creative, to say it in an unusual way.
–Text someone to say you were thinking of them today and you lifted them in prayer. Do not burden them by asking them to reply or particularly don’t be ridiculous and ask them to forward this to ten friends. Anyone who does that is blessing no one and burdening everyone.
Okay, here’s what the Lord did to me…
After I wrote “write a check,” the Lord brought to my attention a pastor serving a small town about five or six states away from here, a man I do not know, a town I’ve never heard of, but someone who is struggling financially and needs some help.
I did what you expect I’d do. I made some calls to confirm that this need was legitimate and not someone running a scam. To our everlasting regret, there are so many people out there who will tell any lie, fake any sentiment, make any promise, in order to tug at the heartstrings of God’s people in order to work their way into their bank account.
So, today, I’m writing a healthy check and sending to that church to help that pastor. (Note: I prefer to send it to the church and designate it for him. In most cases, churches have safeguards in place to govern the Lord’s money, coming in and going out. But in this case, I’d have sent the money directly to the preacher after learning the need is genuine and that assisting him would be Christ-honoring.)
I’m remembering something and smiling. Some twenty years ago, when I was pastoring FBC of Kenner, LA, across the street from the New Orleans airport, my Wednesday night message was about “serving God when we are tired.” My text was John 4 where Jesus was tired and yet ministered to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. I did a good job, I thought, and dismissed the congregation.
But the Lord was not going to let me off that easily.
A young single mother who had been reached through our benevolence ministry came up. “Brother Joe,” she said, “I need to move tonight. If I don’t move tonight, I’m going to lose my deposit.”
I thought exactly what you the reader are thinking: Wait a minute. You need to what? Are you serious? You want us to move you tonight? From where to where? Do you have another home to move into? And a hundred other considerations.
Suddenly it occurred to me that the Lord had jus called my bluff.
It’s one thing to preach about serving the Lord when we are tired, and quite another thing to do it. This was Wednesday night, the end of a long day, and it was 7 o’clock. People were about to leave the room where we were meeting.
If I was going to do anything, I had to do it now!
I got on the microphone. “Chuck, I need to see you now. Jim. Roger. Neil. Can you meet me over here at the piano now?”
I said to about six or eight men and women who had gathered, “Carol here needs to move tonight. If she doesn’t, she loses her deposit. She has an apartment lined up at (address). She lives down here in River Ridge.”
And then, I asked it…
“Can you take your families home and come back here in one hour? Bring your pickup trucks, anything you have to haul things, and we’ll go together. I’ll see you here at eight o’clock.”
I didn’t ask anyone, just said “be here.” And give them credit, they all came.
It turned out that she had not done one thing about packing to move. The house was a shambles. But my lovely friends, God’s faithful whom I was privileged to serve as pastor, boxed up everything she owned and moved it into the new apartment (which was much, much nicer).
We were out of there by ten o’clock that night.
And I wasn’t tired any more. It had been a wonderful evening of fellowship and service.
Today, the youngest child of that lady is about to graduate from college. For the past several summers, some of us have supported that young lady as she has served God in summer mission projects, on the Florida beach and this past summer in Asia.
So, today, I’m writing a check. And doing it “as unto the Lord,” you may believe. I do not know the recipient, but God knows and I’m doing this at His command.
God is so good.