Restoring the Lost Petal

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Can You Minister To Others Without Words?

In 1999, I was living in a basement apartment with my boyfriend hating life. Our furniture had to sit on blocks because every time we had more than an inch of rain the floor got wet.  I worked full time supporting myself, a mounting pile of credit card bills and a boyfriend who didn’t work (partly by choice, partly by health issues).

being the hands and feet of Jesus

It got so bad I didn’t know how I was going to put food on the table. My boyfriend’s selfish and immature mentality meant while I was working he was spending what little money we had on new N64 video game and his Matchbox Car collection. I didn’t know what to do. I was stuck in a horrible relationship with debt up to my eyeballs and no amount of liquor or pot filled the empty hole inside me.

We started going to church every Sunday, but that had only led weekly fights on Sunday afternoons as I tried to play Holy Spirit Jr and convince him that we needed to live differently.

God’s Love Through Man’s Hand

Against his wishes, I started attending a Bible study group. I can’t even remember what nights we met. I remember it was so foreign to do church other than Sunday mornings. Driving to someone’s house with the intention of talking about God and reading the Bible was out of place in my life yet it felt right.

A wonderful woman 10 years my senior befriended me and took a genuine interest in my spiritual growth. She prayed for and took me to buy my own Bible. She answered my God questions and listened to the crazy stories of my life. Her life was far from perfect. She didn’t hide her life from me and yet, even though she was not perfect, there was something genuine and different about her. That something was missing in my life.

About the same time, word got to my Aunt and Uncle that our financial situation was bleak. One day they came to our door with several bags of groceries. They didn’t stay long, but I clearly remember thinking how strange it was that they, Chrisitan people, would bring us, a dysfunctional couple in a bad relationship food to eat knowing we were “living in sin.”

My friend Barb and my Aunt and Uncle delivered God’s love through their hands. They knew parts of my ugly life and I’m sure they could have come to some correct conclusions about me without my confessions. Their actions had a lasting impact on me. They loved without lecture, gave without guilt and cared without condemnation. They preached the Gospel to this lost lady without my knowing it.

Sometimes, being the hands and feet of Jesus means meeting needs, praying silently and being present in someone’s life. Lecture isn’t necessary.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus do not require words.

Open Doors and Open Hearts

Yesterday I made several quarts of applesauce in my electric roaster. I didn’t realize until after my second batch that on the sides of the black roaster pan applesauce had burnt, no charred. It was a terrible mess. My applesauce was fine, no taste of burnt apples, but the pan, in my estimation, was ruined. I soaked sprayed, scrubbed and rubbed and that ruins of apples would not come off.

The next morning, I took a knife to the pan and to my surprise, flakes of yesterday’s mess began to peel off. It wasn’t easy, it still required some elbow grease, but it was a much easier process than the night before.

Another key to being the hands and feet of Jesus is to know when to grow a mouth. You must be tuned to Holy Spirit and speak when He leads you, saying what He would have you say. Far too often Christians want to spew their good words and fancy phrases at the lost and dying.

Even though I had started going to church and Holy Spirit was working on me, had one of these dear people began pointing out my sins and shortcomings I’d have walked away, quickly. Not because I was in denial but because I knew the depth of my sins and felt horrible as it was. I was in a dark season. The light I needed was to know that I was still worth something even though I was not living the right way. 

You must wait for an open door while Holy Spirit works on opening the person’s heart. You see, ultimately it isn’t your job to get people into Heaven or to make them change their ways. Jesus used his hands and feet to meet needs, not to drag, pull or kick people into His Kingdom.

I am not suggesting we sugar coat the Truth and condone sinful actions. I am suggesting that we love first and speak second. That we are so tuned in with Holy Spirit that we know when it is time to use words.

How have you been the hands and feet of Jesus?

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