I have been thinking about what it means to be a consumer and what it means to be a contributor in our spiritual walk. Being a consumer in my opinion is being able to obtain information and learn more about God’s word through bible study or classes or church service. As we are being discipled we are being consumers learning how to grow in our faith. Consuming is great because you learn and understand more as pastors or other bible study leaders are teaching you. On the other hand, if that is all you are doing by just listening to God’s word and just using it for yourself then it defeats the point of what God has called us to do. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” James 1:22 (KJV). Hearing the word of God alone is not beneficial to you and others if we don’t use it. We are to be doers of the word and to go out and act on what we have been taught.
Therefore you move yourself from being a consumer to being a contributor. We would be selfish if we were to keep everything we knew and learned about to ourselves. God has created us to be the hands, feet, and eyes of the Church and to go out and serve one another. “Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it” 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT). Contribute your talents and gifts and reach those that do not know and need to hear about God. It is like a ripple effect; once you touch someone’s life they are more apt to want to touch someone else’s life.
What does this look like? I know for our family, we have been discipled and taught through our church and the different classes and bible studies and our kids through children’s programs. We have been greatly blessed consuming God’s word through these programs. But now we are challenging our small group and family to reach out and serve in these next few months by contributing our time and talents. We have planned several outreaches to serve food in low-income communities, bring gifts to families that can’t afford it during Christmas, helping kids that are disabled, and serving our local food pantries. These are just a few ways on how you can get involved. We want to teach not only our children but also those around us not to be consumers but to contribute and give to others that truly need it. Showing God’s love through your actions can be the biggest testimony of whom God is.
This holiday season, I challenge you to give your time and talents to those in need. If it means taking the time out to help a neighbor or saying “hello” to a stranger, it will be well worth it. Pray God will give you opportunities to be a contributor of your faith and not just a consumer. You will be so greatly blessed by putting your focus on others that you will forget about your own needs and realize what truly is important this season.
There is a popular show that judges singing talent purely on a person’s voice. The judges do not even look at the person until they have heard their voice alone and want to hear more from them, and then they take their first look.
As a believer, I hope to take that same approach with people I meet, only instead of hearing a voice, I want to see the heart.
In the Old Testament, when the prophet Samuel was looking for the next king (1 Samuel 16), he came to the house of Jesse and thought that each of his seven strapping sons could surely be the next king. However God was searching for His man, unlikely to the naked eye.
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Now I know that the Word says that it is God that looks at the heart. He alone knows exactly what is happening in the heart of men and women. But I believe we can take that same attitude or approach regarding discernment of the people who we interact with. We might not get it right all the time, God’s own prophet kept getting it wrong, 7 times in a row. But if we take a step back and think of the actions that are showing the heart of someone, we may become better judges of character. So the old saying says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, this is wise, and even Biblical in this example. Sisters, I want to challenge you, the next time you meet someone and are tempted to make a snap judgment based on their outward appearance, or better yet, tempted to stick with that snap judgment, take a moment to seek God’s wisdom. Ask God for “heart goggles”. I believe He will honor your prayer.
It’s hard to believe that is has been five years since I got the call from Trish asking me to be a member of the Ladies on Life team. I told her “yes” right away and then after we laughed at my quick response, I told her I would pray about it, you know, just for due process sake. It was not a difficult decision to make at all because I trusted Trish as a friend, and I was so humbled by the opportunity to be a part of something that would extend beyond me. It was right in line with what I knew I was made to do, and judging by the many trials I was facing and had already overcome, I knew I had plenty to write about.
Once she made the call to assemble the team, we were off and running, writing two articles a month on any topic of our choosing. Everything was going great and the excitement was truly palpable. As the years scurried along and we began to receive feedback from ladies all over the country, I think each member of the team while elated, began to feel the intensity of writing something that could possibly help free another lady. Personally, I started to write from a place much deeper than when I started out. So much so, that there were many nights sitting at my laptop that tears streamed down my face as I typed each word. Something incredible started to happen. God was ministering to ME as my desire increased to minister to others.
Those moments have greatly added to my life and I would have been satisfied with them alone, but there is more to this story. Not only was I gifted with a chance to express myself through the ministry of writing, but I also gained new sisters in the L.O.L. team. The reason I say “sisters” instead of “friends” is for a particular reason. When I think of friends I think of people who, as the Bible would say, tend to love you at all times. They are your friends because you have something in common and it just works. However when I think of a sister or family, I think of people that were chosen connections for you before there ever was a “you”. It is a bond that is much stronger in the sense that you choose your friends, and at any point you can un-choose them, but with family, there is no undoing that tie. That is what the Ladies On Life team has been to me, family. My sisters. We have been through thick and thin and have gotten so close over five years even though our connection was chosen for us. We are all so different but we have been able to agree on one thing, women need love, encouragement, and a place to unwind, grow and learn in Christ.
I thank God for Ladies On Life and the members of this team. As we celebrate 5 years, I look forward to the many more to come, and knowing that I get to do this alongside my sisters, helps make for one amazing journey.
I still remember getting that first call from Trish telling me about starting and joining Ladies on Life. I hung up in shock telling myself, “She’s got the wrong girl, and surely God didn’t tell her that I was a part of this group of great women!”
These past 5 years have proven to be faith building. Little did I know that I would even be here at this moment writing this in celebration of all that God has done! Through these years I have faced so many, many hardships. I thought that I might not make it through in one piece let-alone have something encouraging to share with someone else.
God’s plan and timing are so perfect. He has plans beyond our wildest dreams! God knows my heart. He knows that I love to be a part of things that are so much bigger than me. I love to be an encouragement. He knew that I would need sisters to back me up through my hard times. Overcoming times of deep depression, an eating disorder, and a horrible divorce. Even though my L.O.L. sisters were not by my side every day physically, I knew that I could count on them to lift me up in prayer and encouragement. My most memorable time thus far was when I called up Trish one hard night. I fought through the tears as I told her that I had nothing to say to anyone, that I had no encouragement because I was so empty and full of pain, and that I should not be a part of L.O.L. any longer. Her response was “I understand if you need a break from writing, but Bombi I’m never letting you go.” WOW! Incredible!
This team has echoed that same message to me. The power of agreement and unity, my goodness it’s a force to be reckoned with! To know that I have sisters backing me with the attitude of “Satan, you’ll have to get through us if you think you’ll destroy my sister. We are our sister’s keeper!” The scripture that says the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man/woman availeth much? Psssh, this must have been written for Kenika, Devon, Sonya, and Trish. I am so full of gratitude to them more than I can express. I am thankful to God who is the author and finisher of my faith who knew JUST what I needed so that I can be held up, and then in turn hold others up. Thank you Lord for the first five. To you Lord, be all glory, honor, and power.