I love riding roller coasters. When you mix speed and chaos with a few backflips and barrel rolls, it makes for one awesome memory! I haven’t really enjoyed the roller coaster of 2020, though. There were some loops and twists this year that I would rather have missed out on. Can you say the same? It seems like every time I turned on the news this year, there was another series of unfortunate events, and I often found myself asking, “Why?” But it’s not all doom and gloom. Serving others changed my perspective on this year. Let me explain.
A few months ago, I was reading through the book of Esther with my LifeGroup. Early in our study, I read about Mordecai’s influence in Esther’s life and about his challenge to her in chapter four. As Mordecai and Esther discovered an evil plot by Haman to destroy the Jews, Mordecai challenged Esther to do something. This challenge included one simple question:
“… And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NIV.
This verse changed my whole perspective on 2020. Think about it. COVID-19 wasn’t a surprise to God, and neither was anything else that happened this year. God could have chosen for any of us to live in any other time in history, but He put us here. Who knows, maybe we were made for such a season as this one.
I have always been passionate about helping people battling addiction. Prior to COVID-19, I was serving every month at Hope is Alive, a faith-based sober living facility. I remember hearing from one of the program managers in the summer about the rise in relapses in the United States. It hurt me. It broke my heart.
Men and women across the country were so alone, so isolated, and so hurt that they were turning to substances to feel something. It was at that moment that I remembered Esther 4:14. I felt like God was telling me, “Sean, you were made for such a time as this.”
I decided to take action. I couldn’t do everything. But I could do something. So, I began leading devotionals for residents of the program so that they could see a friendly face and also hear the truth of God’s Word. I also started hosting watch parties for Church Online in the hopes that anyone sitting at home alone might see it and join me for church. It didn’t feel like much, but it was something.
The truth is, we cannot help everyone. But sometimes I think that scares us out of helping anyone. The overwhelming need makes the step to get involved seem too large. And while it’s true that you probably can’t help everyone, God has given you gifts, talents, and experiences to help someone right here, right now. How are you using them?
Here are a few tips and ideas to help you get started.
1. Get up and get in the game! If you have felt a righteous anger about something in the news, in your neighborhood, or at your church, then God is leading you toward a cause you can impact. Find ways that you can use your unique gifts, abilities and experiences to help someone else. If you aren’t sure how, ask a friend, a pastor, or a mentor. Consider going through Chazown with some friends. God has given you gifts to use to help others.
2. Serve in your community. If you’re passionate about it, chances are someone else is too. You can serve with a Local Mission Partner close to you that is passionate about the same thing or things that you are. All they’re waiting for is you!
3. Serve at church. Maybe you’re upset by some of what is going on in the world but don’t feel a pull toward one specific need. Maybe your heart is breaking over the pain or loss of others. God may be leading you to serve in your local church and change lives through sharing His love. The local church is the hope of the world, and we can accomplish infinitely more together than we can apart. Take the step to serve today!
4. Start a LifeGroup. Your experiences are unique, and your influence is needed. A LifeGroup is a group of friends who grow, laugh, and serve together. Through a LifeGroup, you can help others to feel connected to each other and to see that they’re not alone. You can impact the lives of a handful of other people through spending intentional time with them. Leading a group is easy and might be one of the best decisions you ever make!
Serving others is an opportunity to show the love, compassion, and kindness of Jesus in your neighborhood. The beauty is that it doesn’t only help heal others. For me, serving others has helped grow my love for God and given me a peace that I never expected. So, what are you waiting for? Allow God to speak through me, right now, and encourage you to step into your calling. Step out in faith today, into the life that God has called you to.