God said "Go" and I agreed, but then something happened. I got scared.
If you are a Disciple of Christ then I already know that The Lord has called you to go, but have you ever been afraid to go? First Sabbath at our church is "Great Commission Sabbath". It is our monthly opportunity led by The Lord to be intentionally connected with people in our building, block, family, neighborhood, and/or region. First Sabbath is our attempt to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ spelled out in Matthew 28:19 not necessarily doing service or community projects, but to be with people; to do life with people.
A few months ago my husband and I heard God calling us to start a Grow Group in our building (learn more about Grow Groups here https://www.rpcsda.org/groups). We are already connected to a Grow Group but we kept sensing that God was leading us to develop a group here in our building. But connecting with people that you don't know, whom you're not really familiar with outside of basic greetings when you pass by is uncomfortable at the least and at the most downright scary.
The weird part is that we don't like where we live, it's dingy, the dimly lit hallways smell moldy. There have been occasions when men have been found in the laundry room squatting - like we've literally walked into the basement laundry room and found men sleeping from the night before. One afternoon I was on my way out and was greeted by a pool of blood. I wouldn't call our apartment building the PJ's but I would say that folks here are struggling, wrestling with issues, fighting to hope, and/or are staying here because it was the cheapest most decent place to lay their heads until something better comes. We're convinced that God prepared this apartment just for us to connect with the people where we live. Right here. Not to say that God is not calling us to serve people in DC, on the Appalachian Trail, in Flint, or Mozambique. But right now it's here that He is impressing us to live in intentionally communal. So it make sense that The Lord would say Go and develop a group of people.
But we're not in the bible days. But we're struggling too! But what do we have to offer? But i'm not an evangelist! But I'm barely holding on to faith and hope myself!
The Lord keeps nudging us to go and I was focused on the wrong things (i.e. a clever idea to connect with people) instead of focusing on the people. Today, we heard God say just ask the people "What do you need?" Initially I thought 'oh yea that's clever God!' Then I thought 'but I don't have anything to offer them. What if someone says they need $407.93 to pay their utility bill? What if someone says I need a babysitter on Thursday nights so they can go to school? What if someone says they need bail money?' I don't have the resources for any of that! That's when the fear crept in! That's when the enemy crept in and started to use doubt and the fear of me not having the resources as a weapon to deter me from going! I don't believe God is calling the two of us on our own to provide all the needs that folks have. Maybe God is sending us to find out so that we can then rally the people we are connected with to provide the need!
Acts 2:44-47 tells us about a time when all these people who loved Jesus & were filled with The Holy Spirit were together and nobody had any needs that were unmet! We all have needs, but some of our needs are unmet. Some of us have needs that are unmet because we have not been asked yet. Some of us have unmet needs because we are too afraid to tell people about the need. And some of our needs are unmet because when we are asked shame speaks up for us and says "Nah, i'm good" when we really should be transparent and list the areas of need we have.
So, what do you need? Have you shared this need with a neighbor, friend, colleague, classmate, professor, deacon, pastor, parent, or sibling? Why or why not? I bet it's crossed your mind to tell someone and I bet that somewhere in your story over these last several years or your whole life one or all of these (below) has been a factor:
You said something and nobody delivered.
Someone in your family taught you that you don't ask for help - that if you can't supply it yourself then you don't need it.
You're afraid of rejection.
You've talked poorly about people who have needs.
There was that time you did share what your need was and the next thing you knew the whole community knew your secret.
You're "down here" by yourself and you're not sure who you can trust.
You're convinced that even if you share what your needs are that you still won't be helped.
You come from the school of thought that you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
I declare right now in Jesus name that we have to abandon these thoughts like a sinking ship! If we are afraid to share our needs then our needs won't be met. Listen, there is someone - I venture to say a gang of people out there that want to share their resources! There are people who are yearning for opportunities to dig down deep and help you meet your needs. And I am wild enough to believe that there are those people who want to be of support on an ongoing basis. They don't want to just reach down deep, sacrifice their time, or go beyond their daily routines one time, they want to keep loving on you until your complete need is met. You know why I believe this? Because that is all God does! God keeps on giving to us, supplying breath, putting food on our table, and placing people around us to give us hope without limits! Day after day!
So if you're in the mood to go like we are, then here is a prayer just for you:
Abba Father in Heaven - you are ridiculously powerful, hopeful, loving, careful, considerate, and amazing. Everything that you do Lord is perfect and excellent and worthy to be praised! GOD you have called our names individually and collectively. You've called our names and have provided opportunities to make new friends. You've called us to love beyond our own means and resources, you've called us to use your resources in order to serve, love, and live with others! GOD please break down all boxes, walls and barriers that have prevented us from GOING and fill us with your Spirit that will send us to connect with people not because we are dope but because GOD YOU ARE DOPE! Lord give us your courage! We trust you to put the words in our mouths that are necessary in order to connect with those you are sending us to connect with. GOD help us to surrender to you so that your KINGDOM WOULD COME ON EARTH AS IT IS ALREADY DONE IN HEAVEN! In Jesus name. Amen.