In January, I was immensely blessed to participate in a Spiritual Gifts workshop. The take-home messages for me are that everyone has different gifts that can be used in different ways, and we should find joy in serving God, if we are using those gifts. And y'all...it's true!
My dream job is to be a Wal-Mart greeter. Really and truly, I love to say hello and offer a warm smile to anyone and everyone I meet. Sometimes, people smile back, and occasionally they even respond with a cheerful "how are you today," but the conversation rarely goes further than that. This could go on with the same person effortlessly for weeks, months, or even years.
But, God calls us to more than that. God calls us to be in RELATIONSHIP with others. We, as Christians, need the comfort and accountability of community. But how do we move past a quick greeting to that deeper level of connection with others?
As I reflect on the St. John’s UMC community that I've grown to love and depend on in these past 3 years, I know that those relationships have developed through time spent serving our God.
In Bible study and Sunday school groups, we have had the opportunity to share our stories and prayer needs with one another. We make ourselves vulnerable by bearing our souls, but a deep bond develops through that exposure.
There are always laughter, fun, and tears involved with time spent in mission work. People of all different walks working toward the same goal often find that they have more in common than they realized.
The same children that I got to know as they taught me the verses to "Wheels on The Bus" during VBS also come running to me and other adult volunteers on Sunday mornings with huge smiles and the best hugs.
Committees each have an important purpose, but in order to be effective the members have to get to know each other and the larger community they serve.
And there is so much more—things that I haven’t even gotten to do yet and more people to meet! Was it easy to show up to a room full of people I may not know? Or “give up” a Saturday? Or feel like I was the only one that didn’t have a clue about what to do? Of course it isn’t easy. The good news is that God is with us, holding our hand as we step off the cliff into the unknown. We serve a mighty God, and when we put God first, everything else really does fall into place.