I long so much to make a difference. I get to lead the service sometimes at church, and I pray fervently that what I do will help people to draw closer to the Lord. It’s not that I want them to remember what I said or did during the service, I simply long for them to feel that they were touched by God. I want their lives to be different somehow. And I know that is what the Lord wants too.
The first time I had an opportunity to lead the service I was very aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was great. And the beautiful thing was that it happened again the second time, and the third time, and every other time. It really helped me to want to lead the service, because I knew that the Lord was with me as I did it. As I sought the Lord before one service, I quickly realised that the sense of his presence was not to make me feel good – it was because he loved all the folks in the service, and he wanted to bless them. It was easier for him to bless them if I was being led by the Holy Spirit, and not simply trying to do a good job. Of course, this did not stop me taking time to prepare for the service, and to see if there was anything that I should be sharing. It was just great realising that I was not the one responsible to make things happen.
Sometimes I have the privilege of bringing the message too. I put many hours into the preparation of my sermon, and then some more time praying that it will touch peoples’ lives. The question is, though, how do you measure if you have made a difference or not? My message always speaks to me first, and I carry it over several days, continuing to ask the Lord what to share and what not to share. And generally, there will be some kind people who will give me some positive feedback. And that’s where I tend to second guess myself. I wonder if they are just being encouraging. Maybe the message was entertaining, easy to listen to, but didn’t necessarily hit the target. Perhaps some folks found it boring, or maybe they disagreed with some point I was making. Nobody has ever told me that, though, for which I am grateful.
After I have shared, I try to take some time alone with the Lord and give everything back to him. And recently I have been reminded of the story in the Bible where Jesus feeds many people on the lunch of one young boy. God is so powerful that he could just produce food out of nothing, but that is not how he chooses to work. In this story Jesus takes the lunch which the young boy freely shares with him, and he multiples it to feed thousands of people. The boy obviously had no idea what Jesus was going to do with his lunch, but he was willing to simply share what he had. And that is what I need to do when I share the message at my church on any Sunday – give it to Jesus and allow him to do what he wants with it.
This story really encouraged me. It is not just about preaching sermons though, or leading a service, it is whatever we bring to the Lord for him to use. We may be the greeters at our church; or we may prepare snacks for the Sunday School, or for the fellowship time after the service. Or our gift may have nothing to do with the Sunday service, but it’s when we make the effort to phone someone who needs encouragement; or we take a meal to someone who has been sick; or we simply make the effort to smile and speak positively to everyone we encounter during our day. There is so much that we can bring as an offering to the Lord and leave with him to do with what he wants.
Let’s bring our small offerings to the Lord. He may multiple them. Whatever he does is up to him, we are just the ones bringing our gifts to him.