I started my professional career in IT consulting. What I loved most about it was jumping into a new company and quickly learning their business and processes. We almost never worked out of our home offices, but instead spent our weeks in our client’s office, working side-by-side with their teams. Each assignment was a new challenge – a new business to learn, new people to meet, and different changes needed in order to move that business forward.
Working in the field on someone else’s turf meant we needed to be prepared. We did quite a bit of training to build our skills in our home office before we were ever sent out. Through our home office community, we became equipped with knowledge, credibility, and authority to go out and enable change for our clients.
We are called to step beyond our comfort zones
Jesus calls us to serve in a similar way, engaging deeply in our family and church community as a training ground to prepare for stepping out into the broader community to make an impact. We are called to step beyond our comfort zones to share our faith and help the poor and suffering.
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Jesus shows us this model in how he prepared the disciples to go out on their own. He spent quite a bit of time with the disciples before he ever sent them out. The disciples started by learning from Jesus, then by learning from other other through discussions about what they’d heard. They practiced service and sharing faith with each other and in the local communities of faith who gathered to hear Jesus preach.
After so much time serving side-by-side with Jesus, the disciples were sent out on their own. In Luke 9 and 10, we see Jesus sending his followers out in pairs to neighboring communities.
The needs will always outnumber the resources, but we are called to do what we can
Jesus calls each of us to serve beyond our own communities and reach those who are most in need. We are called to help the poor and suffering and to spread the Gospel through our words and deeds. Jesus tells us the needs in our world are great (“the harvest is plentiful”), so there’s plenty of work for each of us to do.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” – Luke 10:2 (NIV)
Don’t be discouraged when it feels like you aren’t doing enough or aren’t making an impact. We won’t often see the results of our labor, so keep taking those steps and trust God to use whatever you give to fulfill His mission.
We are equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve
Jesus doesn’t send us out unprepared. He spent time preparing the disciples for their mission, building their faith and teaching them how to share their story. He also “gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1).”
We may not have authority and ability to drive out demons and cure diseases, but we are each filled with the Holy Spirit who will equip us for the tasks we’re called to do. We only need to take the first step and call on Him for help.
How will you help with the “harvest”?
In what ways are you using your time, talents, and treasure to serve your local community? How are you going beyond your comfortable to help the poor and suffering and to share your faith?
Your “harvest field” may be getting involved with local aid groups in your own city. Or, maybe you serve on short-term missions to neighboring communities. It may look different through various seasons of your life, too.
In my early twenties, I regularly spent my Saturdays working on Habitat for Humanity home builds with a group from my church. In this current season of life, with young children, I look for different ways to serve – maybe giving one weekend a year for a short-term mission to a neighboring community or serving as a family on a local outreach project.
Find what works for you in your season of life, but try something. It may feel uncomfortable or inconvenient. You may wonder if you’re having any impact. Remember, though, that God uses whatever we give for His good.
He’s calling us to step beyond and serve, so take a step with Him.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 1 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV)
Let’s inspire each other. Share a way you’re stepping beyond your comfortable to serve in your current season of life. Then, read the other comments and get ideas of other ways you might serve.
Thanks so much for this reminder to use our time and talents well to serve. I always start beating myself up that I’m not good enough at something to serve the Lord in that area, when in reality it is in my weakness He is made Great! Thank you for this reminder!
I was reminded just recently that even when we feel we aren’t making a difference, God still uses our effort for His good. Your gifts are God-given and He’ll use whatever you put forward.
Joanna Sormunen says
There are many things I’m scared off. I’m not a very outgoing and I don’t easily make new friends but I’m actually quite the opposite. And I know that God calls me to make friends and bring His light to the people through those friendships. It’s always a jump to the unknown, and a very scary jump, when I get to know a new person. But many times those jumps also teach me so much about God and His goodness, and even about myself and my identity as His daughter.
I can relate – and it’s hard for me to go into new places and situations. It’s these steps of faith, though, that can be so rewarding. If these steps were easy, we’d forget how much we need God.
Kelly Balarie says
I happen to love that you are calling us out Kathryn. You are saying, get up and go even if you feel ill-equipped to do it. I completely agree. He knows the work that needs to be done and can multiply the works of our hands. How true that is! Cheering you on wildly today from the #RaRalinkup with Purposeful Faith.
I took the kids to an outreach at church this weekend and was feeling crummy that we didn’t really make a difference. One kid was having a meltdown and I couldn’t contribute like I wanted. Then I was reminded, it’s not always about the “doing”, but sometimes about the “being”. We just have to keep stepping out and let God use us how He wants.
[email protected] says
I so love my comfort zone, the nest that’s been built around me, the sweet spot that makes me smile. To move beyond that can be a very scary thing, Kathryn. The big takeaway for me this morning is that God goes with me, the Holy Spirit is in me, I am not alone.
I remember my mother telling me when I was still single, “how will you ever meet someone if you never leave the house?” It IS hard and scary to leave our comfort zones – me especially! Yet I think God calls us to those places so we learn to rely on Him even more – and so we can see how He can take even our fear and uncertainty and do great things.
Abi @ Joy In My Kitchen says
Good reminder. When we are willing to go where we are uncomfortable is when Jesus is really able to shine through. Our family is praying about being part of a VBS program through our church that is going out to local parks rather than asking people to come to the church building.
That sounds like a really interesting approach to VBS – and one that could really engage a lot of people who want to hear about God but are reluctant to step into an unfamiliar church.
Beth Willis Miller says
Love this post…so many great ideas for serving others…many blessings to you!
You are so right! And it often does feel like we aren’t doing much, so we need this encouragement and a kick in the pants to get out there.
I so often feel inadequate in what I can do – and wonder if my meager attempts in this season of my life are worthwhile – but I keep being reminded that even our smallest acts are useful. We have to keep stepping out and planting seeds.
Kathryn – such a wonderful post. It is so true that the needs will always outnumber the resources. But as we each do our part, bringing our small to Him, He grows it & meets every need. I am reminded of the little boy with the loaves & fishes this morning. When all was said & done, the people “ate as much as they wanted” and there was leftovers! Thank you for the encouragement this morning. There is no need He cannot supply. Have a wonderful LONG weekend!
Great job, kicking me in the pants to get out and help. I needed it. God is working on my heart, and I’m ready to move my hands and feet for Him! Thank you for sharing!
And I love the comment about doing vbs in a park. Brilliant idea to reach those who don’t want to do church.
Trust me, I needed the same kick in the pants! Let’s all get out there and do something!! My kids want to bake cookies for our local fire station this weekend, so maybe we’ll start there.