Where I See God
Journal #26: Guilt-free Service
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
This morning I walked into a friend from church. It’s been awhile since I’d seen her and I quite literally walked into her. I was on my morning stroll around an area park while she was on her morning power walk coming from a perpendicular path, bumped into each other. We continued on together catching up on the part of life that has happened since we last saw one another.
She’s an amazing woman, filled with humility and God’s spirit. She began to share about a ministry on her heart when… it happened. Part of my heart yelled, “CAUTION: Guilt ahead!”
She spoke about our church’s involvement in a beautiful ministry that helps the homeless community in our area and their need for more volunteers. Time and time again my husband and I have prayed about serving in this particular ministry, but have felt the Holy Spirit say, “There is somewhere else I need you to serve.” So we’ve served where we have been led, trying to help the ministry in other ways than time and service, like financially and giving of supplies. However, when this ministry is mentioned, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach followed with condemning thoughts of… “Kysia, you aren’t doing enough. Why aren’t you helping with this ministry? Don’t you like the homeless? Are you being selfish?”
I recognize those are not thoughts from God. I also know that anyone serving within the ministry mentioned, wouldn’t say or ask them. So what is it about me and that ministry that is in such conflict?
I know the answer. It seems like a ridiculous answer to me. Yet, it is a common one. Simply put, I feel guilty turning down service opportunities. This particular ministry I know needs a lot of help. Like baseballs in a pitching machine, I continually throw accusations back at myself tearing myself down because my energy is being used elsewhere. I start to view the service I am already a part of as unworthy or at least, not as worthy to God. A big fat lie.
Here is the deal.
- We can all be part of ministry but we can’t all serve in the same area. There is too much ground to cover for that. We are members of the body called to different areas. Gifted in different ways. (1 Corinthians 12:5) There are vast opportunities in many areas of service. Which is why it is so important to ask God, where He can use us most effectively.
- As long as we are staying faithful to God, we are not going to disappoint Him. Serving God isn’t a pyramid sales opportunity where there are levels of power and worth. In fact, “there should be no division in the body [of Christ], but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:25) We are on the same team. I’m even on that team when I’m not working in the ministry my church offers, but instead in a different area of ministry.
- If we are going to compare our service let’s keep in mind what Jesus said to Peter when he was trying to compare himself to John. “What is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:22b) We are each to follow Jesus. Even when it looks different than what our brother is doing.
- We are to encourage each other and build each other up as we do our work. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Even if someone else’s work looks different, we are to encourage onward nearer to God.
This afternoon a friend called in a bit of a panic. She had broken a prop she was planning on using at an upcoming special event. She wanted to know if I could help her fix it.
When she rushed in the door she said, “I don’t know what to do and I’m not good at fixing things.” I said to her, “There are lots of things you do really well, let me do what I do well.” Taking the large pieces of pottery, I was able to reassemble them and glue them back together so the piece could still be used for the event.
As she left to get to her next destination, I thought about what had just happened. Two people – one gifted in selecting beautiful items for staging events and one person who was good at fixing broken pieces working together to get something done. That’s the way ministry works. Different gifts, different callings working together to advance the kingdom of God.
There is no guilt in service, only work. As, I parted from my friend after our morning walk, I stopped to pray for her. I also prayed for the homeless ministry for more people to volunteer. Then I let that “caution: guilt ahead” go. God’s given me a job and that is where I need to focus.