I can hardly believe we only have one more week left of the Graffiti Summer Study and Do challenge. I hope the Lord is stretching and speaking to your heart as much as He is to mine!
Continuing our study on the life of Moses, this week we saw how the Israelites, while waiting to hear from God through Moses, took matters into their own hands and used their individual gifts to benefit themselves. Alene then challenged us to “get our eyes off ourselves and on to the hurting world God has placed us in” (go listen to Alene’s message here for more on this week’s lesson!).
DO Assignment: Take Isaiah 61:1-2 to heart and serve someone.
This is where I confess that (at least at first glance) I haven’t really gotten out to serve this week. Time has been limited and other life events have taken a priority position both mentally and physically.
And honestly, as I approached this week, that frustrated me. I just couldn’t see how I could add one more thing into my schedule, and that’s how serving felt. Like one more thing.
Oh, how quickly I forget when the Lord speaks peace and encouragement into me (as I wrote about here two weeks ago).
Why is it so hard to just sit in that reality?
Just because I happen to be going through a study that has a new emphasis and assignment each week doesn’t necessarily mean that the Lord’s answer for me right now, in this moment, is different than His answer was then.
It seems that far too often I’m so busy chasing the next DO that I forget to walk in the obedience of the just BE.
I’m afraid this all sounds very hypothetical, but it’s a message my heart desperately needed to be reminded of once again, and maybe yours does, too?
Because what the Lord is continuing to teach me as He’s drawing me close to Himself and leading me out of myself through this study is that the doing is always preceded by the being.
And yes, I know the point of this Graffiti Summer challenge is to NOT get stuck in the study part of our faith walk (hence the title: Study and DO), but serving just to serve, doing just to do, may still just be a change on the outside that doesn’t reach the heart.
And isn’t THAT really the point of all this? To be changed completely? To experience a deeper soul-level, heart-level transformation?
This doing for the Lord – moving beyond merely studying His Word to actually living out His commands – it’s not necessarily about what we do at all.
It’s more about how and why we do it.
And we simply cannot DO any of it without first being with and walking with Christ in the everyday of our right now realities.
So it’s about reorienting our lives off of ourselves and onto others. Every. Single. Day.
It’s about going through our daily activities and routines (because let’s face it, quitting our day jobs to go serve somewhere else just isn’t always a reality or even beneficial) with eyes open to the world around us and hearts filled with the love of Christ to serve others as He leads, directs, and prompts.
It’s about being intentional with our focus. With eyes fixed first on Christ in order to see people through His eyes.
We can’t keep doing the things we’ve always done in the way we’ve always done them. We have to be aware of those around us. We have to be willing to go into the uncomfortable and different, yes, but also to go into the safe and familiar with a different mindset.
We have to be willing to see people differently.
And while I may not always know how or when to step in and serve in their midst, this study is helping me to see all kinds of people differently … both those I interact with on a regular basis and those I likely will only encounter once.
To see their value and worth. To see them like I suspect Christ would. To see their physical needs, but much more importantly to see their spiritual needs. To see that they need a Savior just as desperately as I do.
And when our eyes are shifted off of ourselves, when our hearts are reoriented to serving others first, we begin to see needs and opportunities to serve everywhere and we begin to view the small moments that make up our everyday differently.
So this week, serving hasn’t been big or obvious or heartbreaking or well-defined, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe small moments like…
Sitting at the table and having a conversation with the AC repair man while waiting for the unit to thaw, or
Pet-sitting across town for a friend, knowing that far more time will be spent in the car than usual, or
Responding to an email to serve in a new capacity with a “yes” because it’s so obviously an answer to prayer
…really are enough.
And maybe part of the doing is found in the struggling and the wrestling of all this as we move – little by little – closer to the heart of the One who goes before, the One who loved first, the One who already knows, the One who IS.