I started my professional career in IT consulting. What I loved most about it was jumping into a new company and quickly learning their business and processes. We almost never worked out of our home offices, but instead spent our weeks in our client’s office, working side-by-side with their teams. Each assignment was a new challenge – a new business to learn, new people to meet, and different changes needed in order to move that business forward.
Working in the field on someone else’s turf meant we needed to be prepared. We did quite a bit of training to build our skills in our home office before we were ever sent out. Through our home office community, we became equipped with knowledge, credibility, and authority to go out and enable change for our clients.
We are called to step beyond our comfort zones
Jesus calls us to serve in a similar way, engaging deeply in our family and church community as a training ground to prepare for stepping out into the broader community to make an impact. We are called to step beyond our comfort zones to share our faith and help the poor and suffering.
Jesus shows us this model in how he prepared the disciples to go out on their own. He spent quite a bit of time with the disciples before he ever sent them out. The disciples started by learning from Jesus, then by learning from other other through discussions about what they’d heard. They practiced service and sharing faith with each other and in the local communities of faith who gathered to hear Jesus preach.
After so much time serving side-by-side with Jesus, the disciples were sent out on their own. In Luke 9 and 10, we see Jesus sending his followers out in pairs to neighboring communities.
The needs will always outnumber the resources, but we are called to do what we can
Jesus calls each of us to serve beyond our own communities and reach those who are most in need. We are called to help the poor and suffering and to spread the Gospel through our words and deeds. Jesus tells us the needs in our world are great (“the harvest is plentiful”), so there’s plenty of work for each of us to do.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” – Luke 10:2 (NIV)
Don’t be discouraged when it feels like you aren’t doing enough or aren’t making an impact. We won’t often see the results of our labor, so keep taking those steps and trust God to use whatever you give to fulfill His mission.
We are equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve
Jesus doesn’t send us out unprepared. He spent time preparing the disciples for their mission, building their faith and teaching them how to share their story. He also “gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1).”
We may not have authority and ability to drive out demons and cure diseases, but we are each filled with the Holy Spirit who will equip us for the tasks we’re called to do. We only need to take the first step and call on Him for help.
How will you help with the “harvest”?
In what ways are you using your time, talents, and treasure to serve your local community? How are you going beyond your comfortable to help the poor and suffering and to share your faith?
Your “harvest field” may be getting involved with local aid groups in your own city. Or, maybe you serve on short-term missions to neighboring communities. It may look different through various seasons of your life, too.
In my early twenties, I regularly spent my Saturdays working on Habitat for Humanity home builds with a group from my church. In this current season of life, with young children, I look for different ways to serve – maybe giving one weekend a year for a short-term mission to a neighboring community or serving as a family on a local outreach project.
Find what works for you in your season of life, but try something. It may feel uncomfortable or inconvenient. You may wonder if you’re having any impact. Remember, though, that God uses whatever we give for His good.
He’s calling us to step beyond and serve, so take a step with Him.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 1 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV)
Let’s inspire each other. Share a way you’re stepping beyond your comfortable to serve in your current season of life. Then, read the other comments and get ideas of other ways you might serve.