My favorite way to pray is through song. For some reason, the combination of music and lyrics often brings me to the verge of tears as the words seem to flutter into my soul.
One such tearjerker is by Dan Schutte. ‘Here I am, Lord’ has been a favorite since childhood.
Over the past several years as I’ve been trying to discern God’s will, this song has even more significance for me.
Will we say, “Here I am, Lord”? When He calls, will we say “Yes”?
Most of us aren’t ministers, theologians, or missionaries. Most of us will serve God in ordinary and everyday ways.
Sometimes that doesn’t seem to be enough for me, I want to have a ‘bigger’ purpose, but until I understand what that might be, I will be the hands of God as best I can, in my ordinary life.
How do we fulfill God’s will by serving people in our daily life?
I wish God used a megaphone. I can barely hear Him whispering.
I want to hear His personalized message for living my life, like a heavenly life coach. I try to wait for His timing and listen to His guidance, but it never feels like enough. I want to know more. To hear more. To understand His will for me.
I finally realized that He does use a megaphone. He spoke to the prophets and through His apostles and we have His message in black and white. The bible is God speaking to us, timelessly. Loudly. With a megaphone.
Jesus boiled it all down into a message that our human minds can understand.
And now these three1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
remain:faith, hope andlove. But the greatest of these is love.
That’s pretty straightforward, right?
So, our mission is one tiny verb of gigantic impact.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.John 13:34 (NIV)
It sounds very simple, but is it really?
Of course we love our family members and our friends. Those are generally the easy people to love, but do we truly ACT loving?
How often do we speak harshly and impatiently to those we love?
How often do we help one another without being asked?
How often do we spend quality time, really getting to know each other?
How attentive to our loved ones needs are we?
How often do we make our loved ones a priority?
How often do we judge and hold grudges?
Sometimes we fall short, even with our loved ones. I know I do. If we think that this is God’s number one plan for us, most of us could probably do better.
Have patience if you want a higher purpose and haven’t discovered it yet. God’s plan is perfect, so trust in that. You’ll know when He’s asking for more. Let Him lead you. In the meantime, serve Him by loving until He asks for more.
Before we start wondering whether we’re being called to become a missionary in Uganda, focus on serving Him by loving those around us.
My own reflection led to an opportunity for me to show more love to my loved ones. My sister’s faced with a husband falling into the abyss of Alzheimer’s. I feel terribly for her and pray for them, but is it enough? I don’t live locally so I can’t support her in a physical way, and she’s so busy between work and caring for husband, that I haven’t found a way to stay in touch and let her know I care.
But I’ve let those excuses get in the way. I’ve let the difficultly of the situation defeat me from supporting my sister. But the excuses I’ve given myself are really a cop out. Couldn’t an email or text saying I’m thinking about you and praying for you or Let me know if you need to talk be easy ways to reach out?
There are many simple ways to show more love to our loved ones. How could you do more?
Jesus made that very clear also:
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, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)
How are we showing kindness and compassion? How are we helping those in need?
We have endless opportunities to help people within our neighborhood and all over the world.
Help doesn’t always have to be financial. Help can be cooking a meal for a family with a sick member, or taking an elderly neighbor to her doctor appointment, bringing used funeral flower arrangements to a children’s hospital, or donating your used clothes.
Look outside yourself and you’ll see life brimming with opportunities to serve the Lord by caring for others.
If you can make a financial contribution, donate to reputable organizations and causes you know are legitimate. A guide you can use in regards to organizational donations is charitynavigator.org. The site rates sizable charitable organizations by the percentage of donations that are used for the cause rather than lining pockets of administrators. The sad reality is that not all organizations and charities are legitimate or handle finances well, so be prudent in your choices.
In all cases, pray.
Pray for discernment to hear and follow God’s plan for you.
Pray for those who are struggling and suffering.
Pray for those who need to find Jesus the most.
Pray for the souls of the departed.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”John 13:35 (NIV)
Be an example of Jesus’ love for us by loving one another. Yes, the ones who’ve wronged us, the ones who don’t look like us, the ones with different religious beliefs, and the ones who push our love away.
Love even when it’s hard.
Remember that Jesus expressed love for his tormentors while they were crucifying H
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”Luke 23:34 (NIV)
Your way to serve the Lord is to follow the example of Jesus and LOVE. When you pray, “Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?” His answer is always, Yes. Love one another as I have loved you and you will never go wrong.
Let me know in the comments!