Making a Difference

 

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Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.
Matthew 5:16 NIV

Are you wandering through your life without any purpose? I challenge you to open your mind and heart so God can do something huge in your life.  The best investment we can make with our life is to use what God has given us to bring honor and glory to Him.  True joy doesn’t come from pleasing ourselves, but from pleasing God and from serving others. I first realized this eight years ago when I volunteered for the very first time in my life. Yes, you read it correctly; I never served before.

I remember the very first time I volunteered for SMC’s “Inside Out” community project in 2007. My husband and I visited one of the non-profit organizations in Alamance County to assess the cost for materials and how many volunteers were needed. It was that defining moment in my life when I paused, looked around the facility witnessing interaction between staff and patients…it hit me so hard that I was left speechless, which is almost impossible for me; something felt so different, so right. It was then I realized it wasn’t about “me” anymore, but it is about “making a difference.”  That defining moment lead me on a faithful, incredible journey serving meaningful vocations and inspiring others to believe, hope and apply faith in their own lives. It didn’t matter if I reached out to seasoned believers or non-believers. If we give something of value to someone, and they respond with indignation or indifference, we can trust God to bring good out of it, and to make our efforts fruitful in some way. Don’t you agree?

This was just the beginning for me in making Jesus famous in our community. While thinking about volunteering, it brings me back five years ago when I was asked if I would consider becoming a middle school link leader for Crossings, now Uprising.  Me, really? My mouth must have dropped to the ground thinking I could never manage eighth grade girls especially when I never had children of my own. Yes, I mean “manage.”  After all, I believed teen drama starts in the eighth grade.  I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into or if I would survive the first year when I said yes!  Today as I write this, these same beautiful, loving young ladies are preparing for their high school graduation.   Once I became so involved in the lives of these young ladies, there was no turning back as I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives.  I wanted to create a safe place for them to open up and discuss their challenges, their fears and encourage them to make a difference by others seeing Jesus in them.  I wanted them to remember how I managed challenges and pain in my own life.  They have not only invested their time making a difference leading 1st – 5th graders here at SMC, they have traveled internationally sharing the love of Jesus Christ ministering to orphans.

Not only has volunteering as a link leader been such a blessing in my life, I learned how critical it is to be a good listener rather than the talker. These girls have blessed my life these last five years, especially during their senior year when they reversed the roles and were there for me when I lost my father a couple of months ago.   I will always be there for them no matter where they are in their own lives. Becoming their link leader and investing so much time and love, definitely made me a better person. While I never had children of my own, God blessed me with these amazing young ladies who will continue making a difference in the lives of others… including mine.

Volunteering is always a matter of choice but I can’t emphasis enough what a difference it will make in your life. When we offer the gifts God’s given us, He will transform them into something bigger than you could ever imagine.  He is determined to pursue you because He knows the greatest joy in your life will come from His plan for you.  If you determine the same purpose in your life that God has determined for you, I am telling you that’s when your life will explode with true fulfillment.  But you will not experience that fulfillment until then. Until then, you will always have that seeking, the sense of dissatisfaction, and the sense of not being able to fully grasp a fulfilled and joyful life.

What are you passionate about? What are the things that break your heart? What are the ways you want to serve God?  Is there anything else keeping you from “giving it now?”

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.                 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Lynne

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