By Morgan Fisher
We’ve all heard it before, “Too much of anything is unhealthy.” However, when it comes to serving, can you serve too much? Well, we are Christians, right? We aim to be Christ like.
It only seems right that we serve with all our hearts as much as possible. Let’s focus in on these key words: Christ like.
Not Christ. He is all knowing, all powerful, and all loving. Mark 10:44-45 “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
That’s why we love Him so much. He has the capacity to love and serve unlike any of us will ever be able to. We can model our lives after His. We can be lights in the darkness. We can be that city on the hill, but if we try to be Christ, we will slowly see our lights dim. God has a plan and purpose for my life and yours
. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”
He created us each uniquely and with a purpose. He has equipped us with certain skill sets and gifts. I’ve heard people say, “We are all created equal.” However, I see a flaw in this phrase. I do believe we are all equally valued. However, we were not created equally. What I mean by this is that God has given you gifts and talents that are different from your best friend, sibling, co-worker, etc. God loves and values us all equally for the unique beings that we are. With that being said, we need to identify our strengths and put them into action to serve with a purpose. 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”
My advice to my fellow servahaulics is to identify your gifts and find a way to use them to bring a smile to God’s face. Saying yes to every serving opportunity puts you in a position of giving everything 20% with low impact, rather than serving with your gifts at 100% impact. Ask yourself, “Am I serving to serve or serving with my talents to advance the kingdom?”
By Chelsie Johnson
I’ve always had a heart to serve others. I’m the type of person who is drawn towards people who are going through obstacles in life and I want to do everything in my power to help them out. However, going out of my comfort zone - meaning getting too close to someone I didn’t know, was a no. I could volunteer at church without second-guessing it, or donate clothes for clothes drive easy. Sitting down and getting to know a stranger, which was something I would never do.
This all changed in October of this year. I was doing research for class when I came across the Big Brother, Big Sister (BBBS) website. I read through the mentoring programs they have and what it means to be a Big. A sudden heaviness overcame me along with the urge to volunteer. I told myself, no, while closing out of the site. Not even five minutes later I was back to the BBBS website filling out the application. I remember calling my friend and telling her I was going to volunteer…she laughed at me. Literally laughed. Her response was that I am far too busy to add anything else to the schedule. My reply, God laid this on my heart at this moment in time, I’m not sure where I will find the time, but I know I can spend at least 10 hours a month mentoring someone. She got quiet and we got off the phone. The following week I heard from an employee at BBBS, named Yvonne. She immediately wanted to set up an interview and within a couple weeks I was in her office answering questions about my past, present, and future. Talk about intimidating. My background check came back clear and I was in the process of being matched!
I met Diamond a couple weeks ago. She is 12 years old, in 6th grade, and has an amazing heart. Diamond has experienced things at such a young age, that I hope to never experience in my life. I have formed a bond with not only her, but also her older sister who takes care of her. They welcomed me into their family immediately. My automatic reaction is to want to spoil Diamond. However, I know reaching her through the gift of serving is going to give her a far greater reward.
I went 100% out of my comfort zone when signing up for BBBS. Maybe you’re okay when it comes to strangers, perhaps you say no every time you’re asked to go on a mission’s trip. I challenge all of you to say ‘yes’ just one time. I guarantee God is going to bless you while receiving the glory of whatever He has called you to do. Going out of my comfort zone was the best thing I did that October day. I gained a little sister, a summer internship with BBBS (again, totally God) and a chance to minister to a complete stranger. We are called to make disciples of all nations. Get out and go!
By Amanda Casanova
When I tell people my birth date, I get a variation of the same response: “You’re born on Christmas?! Double the gifts!”
“Christmas baby! Do you get twice as many presents?”
Twenty-five years ago on Christmas morning, my mom rushed to the hospital a month earlier than her due date. I became a Christmas baby and the nurses sent me home in a red and white stocking.
Christmas is a complicated time for me because growing up with a younger brother and sister, my birthday tended to get lost in between opening gifts and Santa Claus. I threw a number of fits on Christmas day as a result of this.
See, the things is, I’m really good at making things about me.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve stopped throwing fits, but I haven’t stopped making the season about me. I try to be a little nicer. I try not to get road rage. I dig through my purse for change for the Salvation Army.
I work on finding the perfect gifts to make the best impression. I try to make myself look more Christian, more holy, and more generous.
That’s just part of the problem. I think we’re good at dropping money into charity buckets and helping our neighbors during the holidays, but I don’t want it to be just then.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed an executive director at a north Texas area food pantry for a story I was writing. We were talking about their needs and she said the pantry was stocked, but demand was high.
“We’re going into the holidays though,” she said. “That’s when people do a lot of giving.”
It’s true. This is the season when you and I are more likely to open our wallets to others and we call it “the Christmas spirit.” It changes hearts of grinches and Scrooges and for a moment, you and I are better stewards and better servants.
If you’re getting caught up in the Christmas spirit, enjoy it, but when we finally figure out how to put the tree back in its box and when we stop listening to variations of “Sleigh Ride,” let’s focus on a spirit that doesn’t last for just a season. Let’s focus on a God that demands more of us all the time.
Not just for the 30 or so days after Thanksgiving.
Not just for the holidays.
Not just at Christmas.
The bible doesn’t tell us to love others or show compassion for only one month. We’re called to do those things all the time, but even greater, we’re called to get caught in a grace that doesn’t just show up for a season. Instead, it’s a love that prevails over presents, over these next few weeks, and overwhelmingly over me.
By Carmen Miller
The holiday season is upon us. Many people look at the holidays, and think of giving gifts and receiving gifts. But when we have come to know Christ and what this time of year means to us as Believers—we look at it very differently.
This month's theme for WHOLE Magazine, is "The Season of Receiving & Releasing.
" We've all heard the phrase, "be a blessing to others, and you will be blessed.
" For me, that's what it feels like when I give to others, may it be my prayers, time, talent, or money.
I know that in giving to the less fortunate, I receive joy and blessings, as well. I don't just want to pray for you and ask that God provide you with a coat during the cold winter nights. I realize that God has chosen me, not only because I had five extra coats in my attic, but because I am looking to receive nothing, but the joy of giving to others.
It's time for us as Believers to stop justifying why we aren't doing more for those in need. Helping out our less fortunate brothers and sisters has less to do with them and is more about us.
The Bible clearly shows us God's heart for the poor and OUR responsibility
to them, as His children.
- "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God." - Lev. 19:9-11
- There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. - Deu. 15:11
- Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. - Psa. 82:3-4
- He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. - Prov. 14:31
- He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. - Prov. 19:17
- If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. - Prov. 13:21
- The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.- Prov. 29:7
- The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners... - Is. 61:1
- Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." - Luke 14:12-14
So, how can you help, you ask. There are great websites out there now, that function like an employment site to help you find something that fits you. www.volunteermatch.orgwww.serve.govwww.redcross.orgwww.liveunited.orgwww.idealist.orgwww.habitat.org/Volunteers
Before beginning, I advise you to seek the Lord's counsel. Pray, and ask Him to give you guidance and direct you to where you would be most needed. Most of the time we will find some of the most in need and poor in spirit are our very own neighbors—even family.
Here I have gathered some ideas to help you in deciding where you would like to give your time to. Some of these I have researched, while others I volunteer in myself. 1. Soup Kitchen/ Salvation Army2. Homeless Shelter3. Nursing Home (remember many of the elderly have no family, or visitors during the holidays)4. Battered Women's Shelter5. Your church or local church serving hot meals.
Don't have time, but extra money to give?1. Donate coats and winter clothing. - There are enough toy drives around, but making sure children are warm during these cold days matters much more. 2. Adopt a homeless family and invite them for dinner this holiday, or offer to purchase groceries.3. Tithe extra at your local church or refuge ministry.
Remember that when we give to others, we are in deed receiving, because we reap what we sow. And in all things, never, ever forget to give God glory. This is not about us, instead we are just vessels He uses to do His work here on earth.