Being short can be pretty tough. I have been short most of my life which has resulted in my constantly having to pull out a stool or stand on a chair in order to reach the highest shelf. It got even worse when I moved into L’Arche Cape Breton and someone had the brilliant idea of having a “pot rack” much higher than my grasp could reach. Thankfully, one of our assistants is 6ft 5 so I got him to help me out on numerous occasions.
Last week I ended off with a thought, that I’d now like to turn into a question: who are the people who have blessed you? Who, in turn, can you bless?
Who are the people in your life that need someone to reach out to them? Maybe you know a single mother who is working three jobs in order to provide what little she has to her children. Or maybe you live in a big city where you walk past rough sleepers every day. Who are the people in your immediate network that God might be calling you to reach?
Once you have located in your heart a specific person or people group that God is urging you to serve, ask yourself why you haven’t been doing it. This is not a judgement. It’s not always about apathy. Sometimes we simply don’t reach out to others because we aren’t aware of the need until someone points it out to us.
Speaking from my own experience, when I first started getting involved in ministry there are a number of areas I would never have considered until someone suggested them to me. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in pre-schoolers or pre-teens, but because I had no exposure and no experience with this age group, it never would have come across my radar. Yet, when some members of my church thought I’d might enjoy it, I decided to give it a try. I knew that there would always be more experienced people around in case it turned out to be a chaotic mess (as it often is in the toddler room!). Suffice it to say, I grew in confidence, but I didn’t start out confident at first. At first, I was a timid mouse, but I grew courage because people around me said “I don’t see you as a timid mouse. I see your potential to be a tiger – and I want to unleash that potential.”
If you aren’t sure where to look, there are always opportunities to help serve others. If you’re from a big city, there are even some great websites that can get you started as you look for an organization to be part of. I found a great position as a spiritual life companion on one of them during my undergrad and ended up with a brilliant internship at a local Jewish nursing home. If you’re from a more rural town, this might be a bit tougher, but if you’re creative, there’s always needs. If you’re really stuck, a great place to start would be at your church. Ask one of the deacons to grab a coffee with you, or nab your pastor after the service. Explain what’s on your heart and where your interests lie and see if there’s something in-line with your gifts and strengths that the church could utilize. You can even have a lot of fun with this. If you’re a writer, it might result in some great poetry that will really bless a young family. If you’re a painter, it might result in a lovely mural decorating a “boring patch” in the church basement.
Even if age or illness seem to be keeping you largely indoors, don’t despair. I know of several elderly women who are largely housebound, but who are still doing some really amazing Kingdom work. Some of them have never felt so alive! Among other ways to serve, a number of them are involved with quilting blankets for disadvantaged children in orphanages, knitting hats, scarves, and gloves for homeless street youth, and even running a card ministry (where they bless students and young mothers with greeting cards).
Whoever God has laid on your heart to bless this week, I hope that it will be a great adventure! May God guide, lead, and direct you as you seek to find needs to fill them all for the sake of Kingdom glory!