There are several reasons why I really should wait to post today’s Ministry Monday post a little later, the primary reason being that I have photos to go with it but they’re not accessible right now. So if you’re reading this and there are not pictures, come back later and it see if I delivered.
But the fact that I’ve been so delinquent in posting at all this summer, much less in a timely fashion, propels me to go ahead and get this thing up and running before this evening (or before my son comes home from work to give me the photos from his camera).
Still, let me say up front that the other problem I have with this post is that it might come off sounding a little self-promoting and I hate that with a passion. It is never my desire to toot my own horn, but in this case I simply want you to hear the song my horn is playing. In other
less ridiculously flowery words, I love the message of this little story even though it happens to come from my own personal experience. Hey, what can I say, for once my family managed to get it right and do something both a little noble and extremely rewarding. But it’s not because we’re all that special or generous or giving or thoughtful. It’s just that God lined everything up and hit us with an awesome opportunity right in the middle of our collective foreheads! That’s what it usually takes for the Harms family to do something right…
We’ve had the awesome privilege of occasionally providing bed and shower for one of my son’s college friends for the past year or so now. Actually, we consider Jesse a friend too. His whole family lived here when we moved here and attended our church. We enjoyed their friendship and still keep in touch with them. But right about the time Jesse graduated from high school, they all took off for Germany and left him here to go to college at the University of Arizona. (Personally, I think I would leave my middle school age kids behind if I were moving to a foreign country and keep the more mature kids around! Not really…just joking!)
At any rate, when Jesse comes “home” to Sierra Vista (mainly to visit his girlfriend and other friends) we’ve been able to provide him with a futon and a shower and an occasional hot meal. Granted, our futon is out in the middle of our “open” bonus room, so the one thing we haven’t really offered him is much privacy. But he seems ok with it.
I’ve been pleased as punch to offer Jesse a place to stay on the occasional weekend and Christmas break because I would want someone to do the same for my man child. And I know Deb and Trace (Jesse’s parents) would do just that in a heart beat. In fact, maybe Daniel will head over to Germany one of these days and take them up on it. He would obviously get the better end of the stick.
- God can use the simplest things in your life, your most basic possessions, to minister to others. Probably He uses the things we hold the most loosely in our grips. I’ve certainly not held tightly to the futon or our ’92 Tempo. But that makes me wonder if there are other possessions that I’m gripping so closely to my chest that I’m preventing God from using them for bigger purposes and thus increasing their value…
- The returns on giving to others is far greater than the investment. We get so much joy out of being around both Jesse and Sam. They have no idea.
- God inevitably links us up with ministry opportunities. All we have to do is be available and willing. We all need to be on the lookout for these golden opportunities and grab them with gusto when they come our way. No need to be shy about it or get caught up in wondering if you’re doing it right; just offer or say yes.
- Ministry is not just about “doing something” for someone. It’s about building relationships. I’m so glad we didn’t just give Sam a ride, but that we took him to lunch and spent time getting to know him. And I’m equally glad that we haven’t just offered Jesse a bed, but we’ve shared dinner, played board games, and visited with him.
Please don’t think I’m proudly telling you what we’ve done right. We do so little “right” it seems; we certainly have no bragging rights. But this morning my heart is simply full with the benefits of investing the little bit that we have in these two young men. I just want you to know that your heart can be equally full when you simply offer what you have with open hands and allow God to use you in someone else’s life. What a blessing.
PS We have pictures of our family with Sam that we took yesterday after lunch. I’ll try to get those up later.
Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side says
I just love this post, Kay. I love the message that you are telling here–that just being open and available to whatever God puts in front of us is what we are supposed to do. You aren't tooting your own horn; you're just sharing some important lessons.
We had an experience like that about 5 years ago after we had completed an addition to our house. We had added a bedroom, and even though two of our girls were already sharing a bedroom, we decided to keep one bedroom open for guests. Shortly after that, I was standing in the narthex of our church and noticed a family who looked like they were visiting, so I went over and said hello. I found out that their college-aged son, who was taking some classes nearby, had been placed in a terrible living situation (basically the guys he was living with were drinking, stealing from Best Buy, doing drugs) and he needed a new place to live . . . pronto! The parents had driven about 3 hours to help their son find a new place.
Well, my heart was moved, and as I slipped into the pew for church, I told my husband about the people I had just met and how their son needed a place to stay. I didn't say anything to my husband about how I felt, but I really wanted to use our extra room for him. Immediately, my husband said, "Well, that's why God gave us the extra room." I was elated! That afternoon, Matt moved in with us, and he stayed for about 3 months. We love that boy (well, o.k., he's an adult now) like he's our own son. Just a couple of weeks ago, he came to visit us for the weekend.
I really think we got more out of that relationship than he did. And all because we were faithful to the calling that God put right in front of us. It's amazing to me how we can be so blessed by serving–so much so that it doesn't even feel like service!