Monday, October 01, 2007

We Can't Do it Alone

This evening I am honored to be able to speak at Affairs of the Heart, a women's monthly meeting at my church. I've finally got my lesson done so I'm going to post it here. If you're coming tonight, don't read this till later.

My name is Sarah. I've been a member at this church for 3 years and I've been in God's church my whole life. One of the roles I fill here is that of Good Works. People call me when they see a physical need that we can help fill. We do meals for stressful times. We help mobilize the church family when a person has need of food, clothing, a place to live, or furniture. Often the only part I have to do is organize the list and watch it fill up. It's a fabulous job.

Overwhelmed. Overwrought. Out of money. Out of time. Out of food. Alone. Sad. Exhausted.

Do any of those phrases sound familiar to you? I'm sure they do. Saran loves those words, words of pain and defeat and hopelessness. Words that tell us there's no use in even trying, or that this joy you're experiencing is also a trial.

I'm here to remind you today that these words are not the words of God. This life is full of peaks and valleys. Sometimes you need a person to experience those peaks and valleys with you. Sometimes God, though real, seems far away. I'm here to remind you that WE are God's hands and feet.

Matthew 25:34-40.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
“Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
“The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

I'm here to remind you that we can do seemingly small things to build each other up. We all go through times when even cooking is overwhelming (well, that's overwhelming for me all the time). Births, deaths, surgeries, sickness. I know many many people who will testify that at these exhausting times, the blessing of someone else preparing dinner is more than the sum of its parts. It is not just rice and chicken and a deliveryman. It is life, encouragement, and support. It is help, hope, and healing.

Chinell sent an email a few weeks ago thanking our church for the meals we brought earlier this year after the stillbirth of her daughter Rebecca. Part of that awesome story reads:

“It is not just about the food... it is about knowing that there are people... sisters and brothers out there that care. I did not know anyone, but the Lord knew us and brought us together.”

There are other tangible ways to help each other through this journey we're all on. Dawn recently visited our church and requested prayers. Her prayer request went out to the entire church and helped us all know she was experiencing homelessness with her two children. Our awesome church family was able to provide her with food, gas money, toiletries, clothing, and a home to stay in. We did all of this in 3 days. I sat and watched the signup list fill and I was blown away. There is no way I could have helped her so much by myself. She got over 5 job leads as soon as I sent the request out. I feel so honored to be part of this ministry.

I have to admit there are times when I have doubts about the emails I send out. Perhaps I worry that the need is not big enough, or that there have been too many at one time, or that not enough people know the person in need. I am therefore amazed when, after I put the need out there, the slots fill up. Over and over. I'm slowly learning to ignore those doubts, say a prayer, and send the email. I quit judging others' motives and started judging my own. I occasionally have to ask twice, but overall so many great works have been done in Jesus' name.

We can't do it alone. We are not living in a void. But we need to ask for help. Stop being shy. Stop worrying that your need is not big enough. Ask a friend for help. Ask a stranger for help! We can support each other in losing weight, babysitting, finding jobs, cooking meals, and above all striving to learn more about and become more like God.

If you are going about your day and someone's name pops into your head, act on it. Call them. Write an email or (gasp!) a card. Pray for them. Go visit them. Those seemingly random thoughts are not as random as you might thing. And what's the worst that could happen? You call a friend to encourage her and help, and instead her day is going well! And she helps you instead! Oh no! How horrible! :)

Connect with your sisters. You will be immeasurably blessed.

Play song “Move Me Aside.”


jennyonthespot said...

Awesome, just awesome :) Amen!

Pryncss Briana said...

I am sorry I didn't get to hear it in person. What is Affairs of the Heart? Great lesson, very true.