Spiritual Disciplines // GRATITUDE & SERVICE
By Andrea Larson
After winding my way through several blocks of downed trees and scattered limbs last week, I turned the corner onto Main Street in Silverton and noticed a man animatedly waving me down in front of a church. “Oh, no!” I thought as I pulled over and rolled down my window. “What could be wrong now?”
But my concerns proved to be unfounded as the man broke into a wide smile and said to me, “Do you need a hot cooked meal? We’re barbecuing back here!”
I thanked him and continued on my way, immensely cheered by the thought that people were reaching out to one another in the midst of hardship and that was a very good thing. As the aftermath of the ice storm played out, stories of caring abounded – barbecues popped up in various spots all over town, restaurants cooked up piles of hamburgers for weary linemen and others showed up in those same restaurants with money to pay it forward.
At New Hope, staff and members gathered at the homes of some who were hard hit to clean up limbs and debris. The food pantry carried on and many were fed. Generators were passed on to those without power, meals were cooked and supplies were shared. Even with wreckage surrounding us, our hearts rejoiced and we gave thanks as we watched people serving people – love in action.
In the midst of disaster, red and blue were forgotten and the great political, cultural and social divides that exist in our world, receded into the background. The icy rain had literally “fallen on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). We were united in visible hardship.
But we all know that hardship does not take a vacation. The pandemic still rages. Cancer still attacks. People suffer silently in invisible loneliness. There is a need for service each and every day. And this is one of the reasons that I so love and cherish my New Hope family – it is made up of people who value service to others. John reminds us in I John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Even as we continue to comply with safety measures during the pandemic, it is undoubtedly harder to serve than we would like. Nevertheless, everyone can be part of loving others in important ways. As some of you are reading this, I suspect you are thinking, “But, I am old and can’t really help,” or “I am too sick to be of any use to anyone else”. If you can talk, you can pick up a phone to encourage someone or just listen. It will lessen your own loneliness, too! If you have no strength, but have money, you can give to those in need. If speech is difficult, you can contact a staff member to be included in the communications about prayer requests and you can pray with us. Don’t miss out on the blessings that accompany service.
And for those of you who are truly too weary to go on, this is the time to let your brothers and sisters carry you through. Let us know that you are in need. Let us pray for you. Let us love you.
This is the real Christian life.
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
TODAY, don’t decide IF you will serve, but HOW you WILL serve.
1. Read I John 3: 11 – 18
2. Go to inewhope.org and choose the “I WANT TO SERVE” button. There, you will see the options of Food Pantry, Corona Care Team, Sports Ministry, and Kids’ Ministry. Pray and consider if one of these is right for you.
3. As debris clean up continues, take this opportunity to get to know your neighbors better as you offer to help.
4. Go to inewhope.org and choose the “GIVE” button. As Pastor Isaac encouraged us on Sunday to evaluate our relationship with money, I encourage you to give generously, so the funds you contribute can be used in service to others.
5. Call someone who may be lonely today and the next 3 days.6. If you need help, go to inewhope.org and choose the “SIGN UP FOR HELP” or the “STEPHEN MINISTRY” buttons. We are here to serve and to be served by one another.