Today I’m sharing my testimony at our weekly community group, and I found this post buried deep in the archives of writing I’d begun and never finished. So I thought that in light of tonight, it would be fitting for me to share a piece of my testimony with you. This is just a piece, but it is an important one and I pray that you are challenged and blessed by it.
It was my first missions trip and I was so excited. Truth was washing my soul and opening my eyes to what it truly means to follow Jesus. And it was sometime during the long bus ride home that I made the list…
My heart had been opened and changed and somehow my 15-year-old self knew that my actions must follow if the change was to be real. So I wrote the list…things to do, habits to change, new ways to live.
And we couldn’t have been home for more than an hour before I had my list out and was showing it to my Mama. I knew I was rushing but I felt that I somehow had to, that I had to let someone know and start forward on my list before it got piled under a dusty stack of books on my nightstand and forgotten.
I know that there were almost ten things on the list, but the first few, the only ones that I knew I absolutely needed to do and the only ones I remember, were about service.
I had grown up in the church. I’d co-run the tiny nursery as a middle school girl and I’d helped my mom in Sunday school classes and I’d volunteered at Vacation Bible School, but this time it was me choosing to serve because I wanted to. Because I had seen the power of serving and I knew I needed to be doing it regularly.
I needed to be humbled and stretched and changed in the way that only serving others can do. And so those first few things on my list…
Join the youth group worship team.
Join the youth group student leadership team.
Join the youth group outreach team.
And I’ve never been the same…
Because taking the step to put Jesus as a priority changes and challenges you. And taking the step to pour back out from what is being poured into you by God changes and challenges you to an even greater level.
In my young and passionate heart, a desire had been ignited. I had seen the power of pouring out all that had been poured into me, of loving the way Jesus loved me, of serving the way Jesus served me…and I knew I needed to keep at it. I could not have put it in those terms at the time, but I felt a difference in my desire for God when I was serving, and I knew I needed to keep that desire burning.
I’ve never looked back.
The steps of faith have gotten larger. With each step the need for Jesus grows, and I’ve learned that you can’t grow your faith unless you first step into a place where you can’t do it on your own.
And that is why I need to continue to serve. Because in a place of serving, I encounter obstacles I can’t face well on my own…people I will be unloving towards, projects I will give up on, physical strength that I won’t have when I need it. And so serving is intentionally placing myself in situations that I will need God’s strength and His Spirit in order to make it through well.
I will never reach a place where I no longer need to serve.
My heart needs the wake up call that it’s not about me. My soul needs the tangible reminder that in need God’s strength in order to serve Him. My character needs to be built in the way that only self-sacrifice can provide. And my walk with God needs the intimacy that only obedience can bring.
Service is obedience, because we are commanded by God to serve one another. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was choosing obedience and that is why I saw the blessings pouring out as I served.