I had the AWESOME privilege of participating in a God-ordained ministry today. This ministry serves a warm meal to anyone who comes wanting--258 today. It also provides a week's worth of groceries on a first-come, first-served basis. Unfortunately, there were so many people requesting groceries, about 50 had to be turned away because the food ran out after serving 514. I was so in awe of the dynamics of this ministry that, although I held my emotions at bay while serving, I have been quite emotional since pulling away from the make-shift dining room, (which, by the way, is in the old press room of a local newspaper). I am nearly in tears even now as I type this, thinking about my experience.
First, I am in awe of this ministry's ability to bring together the body of Christ. I met people from several different churches and was told later that just about every denomination you can imagine has been represented by volunteers since the ministry began in January of this year. Behold, the true Body of Christ. I am smiling. I know our Father was smiling today as He watched His redeemed throw off petty differences and reach out as one hand. His hand.
Secondly, I am in awe of the ministry's open hand. Their belief is that anyone can be in need. In other words, (and I'm quoting one of the ministry's representatives), "If someone shows up in a Rolls Royce and says they need a meal, they get it." You ask for a meal, you get one. No questions asked. Here's the food; come and take it. Although, I'm sure most if not all of the people who received food today legitimately needed it. But, if not...that is between them and God. We as His children are just to hold out His provision. Open hands.
This is the very thing God has been laying on my heart over and over again lately: hold onto your things with open hands. If someone asks for your mittens, give them your coat and the matching hat and scarf too--my modern-day interpretation of Matthew 5:40, and Luke 6:29-30. If we really believe that everything is God's, then why do we cling so tightly to our things? They are not ours. If someone asks for something that is in our possession, then aren't we to say, "Absolutely! It's not mine anyway!" Even if we need what we give away, can't we trust God to provide us with another one? Jehovah Jireh.
Finally, I am in awe of this ministry's origins. From the bits and pieces I've gathered, here's how it began...
Johnny felt led to start this outreach but suppressed the urge for a while, even refusing to tell his wife about the idea God had placed in his heart. Then, one day his daughter asked if he knew of a soup kitchen where she could volunteer and his resistance dissolved. Having no experience in food, he called a local restaurant owner, Kevin, and explained his idea. Kevin's reply: "Let's make it happen!"
They began in January, serving a warm meal to about 75 people. Ten months later that number has almost quadrupled! Johnny told me today that he felt led to make his entire ministry into a non-profit organization before he began "Breaking Bread." Because of that, people are now able to contribute to "Breaking Bread" as a tax-deductible donation. He said he now realizes that God was preparing the way for this ministry long before it happened.
As I was walking to my Jeep after clean-up, I had a little thought-prayer that God would allow me to be a mover and shaker like Johnny and Kevin. That He would help me to be an effective example of Christ's love. That I would have the discipline and perseverance needed to follow through on His plan for my life. But later, something occurred to me...
I thought of Kevin's wife, Donna. She was there yesterday too, quietly working and organizing a vast array of volunteers. I realized that she is the helper her man needs to be the effective minister that he is. And I remembered the Proverbs 31 woman...
"A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value... She sets about her work vigorously... She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy... Her husband is respected at the city gate where he takes his seat among the elders of the land..." (Proverbs 31)
You see where I'm going, right?
Donna works vigorously. She extends her hand to the poor and needy. Kevin wasn't over-seeing her activity; he had full confidence in her ability to organize the bustling ministry. And he is respected. He is able to be an effective example of God's love (through "Breaking Bread" and various other endeavors), the hands of Jesus, in large part because he has a wife who works vigorously along-side him, supports his endeavors, and is willing to share her husband, her time, and her resources with those in need.
Perhaps some of you wife-mommas out there feel like me--like you are spinning your wheels some days. Perhaps you even wonder how you can make a difference in the world while you are confined to your home ninety percent of the time. Perhaps you need to remember the contribution you are making to the world now through your husband and to your children (and later through your children). Perhaps you, like me, could use this reminder today:
You are a mover and shaker, my friend!
However, your influence on the world may be in large part through your man. Elizabeth George speaks this truth in her book, Beautiful in God's Eyes: "Although our culture may not value it, one of the wife's most important roles is to support her husband." As you support your man, you make it possible for him to reach a lost world for Christ. I realize this is not a popular idea in our society; however, Scripture seems to make it very clear that a Godly husband is crowned with respect and honor, while his wife of noble character is his crown (Proverbs 12:4).
Here is a little more from Elizabeth George about how this couple looks:
- He contributes to the community; she is his helpmeet (Genesis 2:18).
- He is successful in the realm of city management; she is successful in the realm of family and home management.
- He is happy at work; she is happy working at home.
- He is respected and held in high esteem; she preserves and advances his honor by her conduct and example.
- He is deferred to as a solid, influential citizen; she brings credit to him.
- He exerts his influence on the life of the community in the city gates; she influences the community from home.
- He is known for his solid character and important contributions; so is she.
You are a major contributor to the work of God's kingdom! Remember, as a Christian wife and momma, our family is our ministry. We're shaking the world in the Jesus' name, right from our home!
I'm going to let Elizabeth sum this up for us...
"Now I want to ask you whether you see your husband's service 'out there' as your gift to the people he serves. After all, you are the one who fills him up and sends him off to be a blessing to others. He is your contribution to society, to the company he works for, to the people in his office, to his customers, to his students, to his flock--whatever the case may be.
"And he is your contribution whether you hold down a job or spend every waking minute at home. You support him not because you may or may not earn a paycheck yourself. Your support is a matter of your heart and your home; the issue is how you take care of him, his home, and his children. It's about your beautiful contribution to his well-being."
(From Elizabeth George's book, Beautiful in God's Eyes, Harvest House Publishers, copyright 1998.)
I know some of you are thinking, "This is NOT me." Pray, girlfriend, pray!!! God is not finished with us yet. He sees us as holy and blameless and He knows our heart. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He sees you. He will help us be the wives we are called to be!
I know some of you are thinking, "This is NOT my husband." Pray, girlfriend, pray!!! =) Pray first that you will see your man as God sees him; perhaps he is more effective than you realize. Then pray that your man seeks hard after God and that God will bless his endeavors.
Not married? Start praying now for godly husband...and that you will be a wife of noble character, always keeping this in mind: God may desire to keep you all to Himself.
Attitude of Gratitude:
96. A small group of women who want to get real with each other and dig deeper into God's love through His word. I can not wait for 6 pm on Monday!