But someone will say, “You have faith: I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. “ James 2:18 .
I mentioned that I have not lived around one of my siblings since 1985 when I left Kansas City. That all changed a few months ago when my brother moved to Hays. It would be pretty cool to just have him come over for coffee. Keep in mind that in 1985, I was too young to really appreciate something that simple. Age is a fun way of reorganizing priorities.
I got the coolest text from him yesterday. “Hey, you interested in polishing a pair of black boots?” This may sound weird for a couple of reasons. First, I like to shine shoes. Second, few people will ask. He came over and had a cup of coffee while I shined. We talked.
Here is why that strikes me. For him to know that I liked to shine shoes, I had to tell him. I asked him if he wanted me to before. He has never said yes. But he remembered it when he had a need. He lost a good friend to cancer this past week, and he was heading to the funeral. His shoes needed to shine. Maybe he also needed some company.
He is a veteran who has served in combat. He knows how to shine shoes better than I do. The military is making sure of that. What made it mean something is that a need he had was compatible with the interest I had in serving him. If he had said nothing and done it himself, he would have still ended up with presentable boots, but he would have deprived me of the joy. We sometimes assume that only the person receiving help is blessed. I think that in a lot of cases; the person helping someone feels just as much joy, if not more, than the one receiving help. Serving others brings a blessing to the giver.
Training for Ministry
My uncle Bill has been a pastor for over 60 years in a small church in Missouri. He is around 6’ 8” and large, just like my brother. One thing that stands out from ever attending his church is the way he made announcements. I remember him saying something about a member needing to borrow a vehicle. Then he waited. After just a second or two, someone raised their hand and said they had one available. Done. Next need voiced. Next needs to be filled. For example, he trained a body of believers to meet needs with action.
Seeing Spiritual Implications in Everyday Interactions
I remember times when I thought such needs were just that, needs only. That can be true. But nearly all needs are met with action and also accomplish something else. A person meeting those needs may do so out of a desire to serve others, a ministry. It can be simple. You need something moved. I have a truck. Sometimes, that may be helpful, but not exercised as a ministry motivated by serving others for God. Why is that?
It is possible for me to look at every interaction I have with another person as an act of ministry. If I do that, I may end up with an attitude of worship saturating every area of my life. It can also help me understand how I should respond when someone treats me poorly or makes me mad or whatever else I evaluate from a skin-deep perception. From a faith walk perspective, there are no wasted moments in serving others. There are no earthly transactions that lack a spiritual implication.
What things do you like to do or not to do?
What legitimate needs do you have? Who has God already positioned in your life who may be able to help?
I am not talking about booking your schedule with empty work. I suggest that you and I think about ways we can combine our willingness to serve the needs of the people around us. Be available to God to use us.
I would also encourage us to look at the needs we have and to think about people around us who may be just waiting for an invitation to serve God by helping. Am I that someone?
Tell people you are open for business either way. Be motivated to serve or to be served. God can use either. Serving others pleases God.