How are you doing? What are your immediate needs? How can I help you?
The questions posed here are ones that fuel my purpose in life.
It seems counterintuitive to say these things. I mean, really, if I am helping someone with 'their' problem, how does that benefit me?
In short, the world has two kinds of folks. There are givers and takers. Now, there are variants of both mixed in the middle. One could argue that avid givers need to receive once and awhile and habitual takers need to give from time to time. Agreed. For me, I have my batteries charged by helping others. It was how I was raised and how I choose to live. Admittedly, I have difficulties in receiving gifts. I am learning the art of being gracious to those who need to give.
God's blessings are pretty amazing. The primary blessing is relationship with our Creator. We are loved and redeemed by God. God offers us the keys to His Kingdom through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Our best response toward God's grace is to confess, repent, and receive Christ. Our sins are dealt with and we stand righteous in God's sight.
The next best thing to occur is how we thank God for His goodness. We give back. It seems like a natural extension of one whose life has been rescued from the edge of darkness and destruction.
In the 44 year old hymn "Freely, Freely" the writer penned the familiar chorus, "Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give." Good words for us to consume, chew on, digest, and even regurgitate during this day. How are we practicing God's principles for receiving and giving. Are we grateful for our position in God's Kingdom enough that we want to offer gifts and grace to another person near us?
Last night, at the "National Night Out" I was asked to offer the Invocation. I jumped at the chance to call upon God's blessing and grace on a community event. What I hadn't counted on was what happened next.
An imposing figure of a man approached me and asked, "Are you Pastor Hughes?" I sized him up and figured I couldn't subdue him but could outrun him so I answered, "Yes." He introduced himself as Skip and mentioned he was the president of the motorcycle club that had just rolled into the lot. He then asked me if I could prayer over the club members, their families, bikes, and the club in general. My response was, "Yes, absolutely. I would be honored."
As it turned out, my colleague and good friend, Rev. Bill Mangram from Bethel AME church and I started at each end of the motorcycles and worked our way toward the middle. We prayed for each operator and rider. Having been called and blessed by God for this purpose, our best response was to offer prayer and blessings to these folks.
Continuing on, I had the honor of praying with each of the borough police officers (including K9 officer "Tank") and the Life Flight crew who had brought their rescue copter to display. I was like a kid in the candy store (I suppose to update that saying, I was like a kid in a Pokemon stop).
My blessing meter was maxed out. It couldn't get any fuller.
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will
be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38, NIV)
My measure is full, in fact, some stuff is spilling over the side and it is because I was willing to be used in God's kingdom.
How about you? Is your measure a quarter full, half full, full, or overflowing? I hope the latter is the case. If not, there is a way to fix that problem. Be open and available to God's call in your life. Step forward and say, "Here I am Lord. Send me."