Do you ever feel like everything happens at once? Last weekend I had two different sets of houseguests: friends from another city in Turkey who came to speak at our team retreat and friends from out of country who stayed in our home while we were away. In between packing and leaving for our retreat, the weekend included making a birthday cake and hosting a quick celebration, preparing a few meals for different guests, and stripping the beds twice to change sheets.
I was honestly happy to see dear friends and open my home to them, but rather than being motivated by genuine love and hospitality, I felt harried and stressed. I was in a “Let’s Get Through This” mode.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1, 2)
These verses made me think about what motivates me and reminded me of three truths:
1. God loves me.
I am a dearly loved child of God. When I stop to consider his great love and forgiveness, I can’t help but be touched by joy. When his love fills me, I can give to others.
2. I want to love God.
I want my love for God to be the motivation behind all that I do. What makes a family embark on a crazy, impossible project like starting a new fellowship among what some call the largest unreached people group in the world? Is it because they love challenging adventure? Is because they hope to experience success and feel fulfilled? Or is it because they love God?
3. I’m called to love others.
The Message says Jesus “didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” When I changed those sheets or made that birthday cake, did I see it as a duty or as a chance to be like Jesus and walk in the way of love?
Sometimes life looks overwhelming.
Overwhelming circumstances: Home school Latin, algebra, and biology, ministry, guests, house church in your home, never-ending loads of laundry, and financial pressure.
An overwhelming task: Sharing the message in the face of spiritual disinterest and darkness. Maintaining a joyful outlook in a dry environment
When life looks overwhelming, it’s good to remember the simple things. God loves me. I’m called to love God and I’m called to love others. Simple. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated.
In January I wrote about the real reason I'm here in Turkey. I’m here so that God can change me and make me more like his son, but I hope that another real reason I’m here is because I love God.
Question: What keeps you going in your ministry or service? What encourages you when the going gets tough?