I’ve just come back from a great couple of weeks on leave. I spent time in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra – lots of time with people, with some time as a tourist thrown in, as well as reading a few good books. In Sydney I stayed with a couple who I’ve known for almost 30 years. As a teenager I was in and out of their house as a close friend of their daughter and the friendship has continued and grown over the years. There are several youth group generations who have been shaped by this couple, as they have opened their home and lives to the peers of their four children, ministering to us deeply in all sorts of ways as they did so.
In Canberra I spent some time with the Apopeis. They are staying with a couple who I know through SU circles – a couple who have opened up their home to the Apopeis while they continue to look for a house in a tough rental market – a huge gift and answer to prayer for the Apopeis. This is just one action in a long history of such hospitality and generosity by that couple. (As an aside, do continue praying for for the Apopei’s house hunting process!)
What fantastic examples to us all these two couples are – and they’d be rather embarrassed to be written about I’m sure! As the woman I was staying with said, “You serve God with what he’s given you, with the things and people he puts in your life.” So I wonder what those things are for us, that might be a blessing to the people and contexts that we find ourselves connected with and in? How might God be inviting us to minister to those around us? So often simple things at particular times or offered consistently over time make such a difference.
There are many examples of such things around and in our congregation. For example, it was fantastic to see photos of the Days for Girls sewing day last Saturday that Clare Brans coordinated. Hearing about a need and a way of participating in making a difference towards it, she then followed up by both alerting others to the need and facilitating a way for people to participate in the solution. Then lots of people got on board and took part – people from our congregation and beyond.
It’s so easy as we approach the end of the year to get consumed with the things that need to be done and that we have on. I encourage you to continue to have your eyes open for how God might have you reach out to those around you with who you are and what you have. It might be in the midst of the activities and demands that these months can contain, or it might be people, things and contexts that are separate to the other things that are happening for us at this time.
It’s important that this comes out of our relationship with Jesus and empowered by His Spirit; it’s not about just doing more good stuff! So let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and continue to be filled with the Spirit as we live as God’s people in the places and relationships that He has placed us within.