“What is it worth?”
This is a discussion my husband and I have had several times over the past few weeks. What is the Gospel worth? What are we willing to do to reach people for Christ?
We both love ministry. Collectively, my husband and I have been on missions trips, worked at camps, and led music, taught Sunday School, and done other service in the local church. But as we settle into ordinary life–though still serving at our church–we’ve started asking that question: What is it worth? Are we content to simply show up for church Sunday morning, teach our class, sing in the choir, lead congregational singing, and go home? Is it enough to be at all the church events and special services? Is it enough to post Bible verses on our Facebook and simply hope God opens a door for us to share the Gospel with someone?
I’ve been realizing over the past few weeks that the answer is no. It is not enough. The church was never meant to be exclusive. Showing up for my church-y duties is not going to help my lost neighbor who may or may not know we are Christians. Calling myself a follower of Christ in my Instagram bio is not going to help the homeless person I just passed on the street corner. Bringing a crockpot of soup to a church function does not help my brother or sister in Christ who is suffering through a trial or struggling with sin.
So what does that mean for me? What am I going to do about it? Well, I’ve been asking God for opportunities to share my faith, opportunities to do big things, opportunities to be super Christian. And God took me to Mark 6.
We all know the story of when Jesus fed five thousand men. You probably heard it first when you were in Sunday School, maybe six years old, and thought, “Wow, that was really cool! Jesus took the little bit they had and fed all those people!” But God really opened my eyes to something when I read it last week.
The passage says, “And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.” (verses 35-39)
We all know what Jesus did and how awesome it was. But all of a sudden I understood what it meant in my own life. It’s time to use what I already have to serve Christ–to help people.
Can you hear the sarcasm in the disciples’ voices? “Oh ok, Jesus, you just want us to go and feed these people. Sure. No problem. We totally have all the resources we need to do that. *eye roll*” I think sometimes I act like that. God says, “Do this,” and I say, “But I’m not ready yet. I don’t have all the things I need to do that thing. Even if I try to do it, I won’t be able to do it well/correctly/the best way.” And the excuses go on and on. But He wants me to use what He has already provided.
SO. Practical example. We live in an apartment. Josh lived there by himself in the months leading up to our wedding, and we have just kind of been furnishing and decorating as we go. I’m going to be honest: it does NOT look like I want it to look. Have you seen my Pinterest boards?! Whites, natural light, lots of plants and book shelves . . . not what we have going right now. It really bothered me when we first got married, but I kind of brushed it off. “Whatever. We don’t have people over so it doesn’t matter what it looks like right now. When we get our own house, I’ll make it look how I want it to look.”
It was probably a few months ago, but we didn’t start doing anything about it until last month. I realized how snobby I was being by not inviting people over. I didn’t want people to judge me and my style based on our thrown-together apartment. But the Holy Spirit was poking me and saying, “Hey. You talk about how you want more community, you want more friends, you want to be an encouragement to people. Put aside your pride, and start doing something about it.”
So we did. We had a couple from church over. Then we had my grandparents. And I started to plan a get-together with some girlfriends, none of whom had seen my apartment and ALL of whom were around my age. I used to boast that I didn’t care what people thought about me, but that just wasn’t true anymore. I was worried! If you’ve read this far, you’re probably snickering at my ridiculousness. But maybe you can relate!
I was majorly stressing about this get-together last week when I read the aforementioned passage in Mark. And that sealed it for me. Stop worrying about what my house looks like. Stop worrying about who likes what food and how much it costs to cook for more people than just me and my husband. Stop worrying about what people will think. And just love them.
The girlfriends came, and we had a blast. You know what else? The only things said about my apartment were good things. I was shocked! But even if nothing had been said, it didn’t matter. I had peace in my heart that I was doing the right thing by having some peers over for a time of fellowship. And now I’m looking forward to the next time we can have people over!
The point of all of this is it to remind you to use what God has already given you to serve, to reach out to people who need help or encouragement. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “When I get _____ I’ll be able to serve God, help that person, etc.” Do the thing God is telling you to do NOW. Stop making excuses! There are so many hurting people out there, whether in your church, in your neighborhood, or in your local gas station.
Look at the loaves you already have–the things God has already given you. Now go feed some people.