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God uses what we have

On Monday I wrote a blog called Activism is necessary for understanding. The point of it was, we don’t have to become perfect to serve God, we just have to put ourselves in motion.   It provoked some pointed exchanges. Anonymous was the first comment. He said, “What is a simple way of step…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
On Monday I wrote a blog called Activism is necessary for understanding. The point of it was, we don’t have to become perfect to serve God, we just have to put ourselves in motion.
 
It provoked some pointed exchanges. Anonymous was the first comment. He said, “What is a simple way of stepping out? A very
good, simple first step? This is coming from someone who is a  loner with no
community or church and has only God and himself. He wants to give up
his life and believe wholeheartedly in God but is confused.”
 
I replied, “Ask the Lord to bring to mind one other person who needs encouragement
today.
Then ask him, “How can I encourage that person?”
Then do it.

That’s a start. Share with us the results and then repeat.”
 
It’s not rocket science. God just wants us to ask him a question or two, listen and then obey. He doesn’t want us to be perfect, he just wants us to bring to him what we have and start there. If we’ll do that, my experience is, he shows up.
 
So, 14 comments later, at 7:58 pm, Anonymous reported in as I had requested. His response was lengthy, so I edited it some here:
“Ok so I’m reporting back with the results of my first adventure into
this unknown territory.

After I read your simple advice I prayed about it and went back to my
normal day at work and tried my best to be on the lookout for whoever
the spirit was going to lead me to.

To let you know I’ve never done anything like this in my life. This is
all new so I didn’t know what to expect or look out for.
 

Well, there is this one coworker of mine who is sort of slow (almost
retarded but he isn’t) and I figured I would give it a try and ask God
about this man.

Well, the second I started praying and asked God if I was supposed to
encourage my coworker the spirit literally just flooded into me and felt
like it was vibrating inside of me. I actually had to catch my breath;
it was pretty quick and intense,
which felt great.

God wanted me to encourage him about how much of a good job he does at
the warehouse. I stood up, went right up to him and then walked away…

So I missed my first opportunity, but nevertheless I went back to him at
the end of the day and and complimented his work at the
warehouse. He got a big smile across his face and appreciated that I
noticed his work and he was very happy and grateful. He left in his
truck with a smile.

It took coming out of some comfort to randomly
compliment a person the spirit led me to encourage. I can’t remember ever just throwing out
encouragement like that to anyone.

So Seth, I take it I repeat this process every day and learn how to
listen to God? This must be like learning my spiritual ABC’s until I’m
grown and have more authority in the spirit to begin doing bigger
things. But I take it I could keep this going for the rest of my life. This was a very exciting day to be able to do this and actively hear
God.

The fact that you did say to report back kept
me somewhat accountable to go through with this. Had you not said that, I
would have probably nodded at your advice and walked on, maybe never
doing it.

So…what’s next after I make this a habit?”

What was next is that I linked him up with a couple of friends in town who have strong church communities. We’ll see where it goes from there.
 
The lesson I take away is that we don’t need to be super-spiritual to talk to God or to do his work. We just have to give him what we have and start there. And we don’t even have to get it right in our obedience. Like Anonymous, we may start to obey and then walk away, only to go back on the second pass and do it right (this was the story of Peter’s life – messing up, but then dusting himself off and trying again).
 
So, dear reader, I challenge you to take the step that Anonymous took. Like he said, it’s the spiritual ABCs. It’s how Jesus intended for his disciples to live their lives. Ask God, “Who can I encourage today?” Then do what he says and then report back to us. The results may surprise you.

Comments (9)

  • Seth, I just checked out the blog you mentioned and the comments that followed. Brilliant, simply brilliant–and not just the word for Anonymous, but the entire exchange. I love how you’ve put your words into action, and you speak and write from a very full lifetime of experience!

    Good blog, as always. It’s amazing how much this simple site has grown and affected who knows how many people.

  • The greatest neglected gift in the tribe of people who follow Jesus may in fact be a lack of offering the free yet powerful gift of encouragement. It literally is the effort to “fill people with courage again”. We live in a world with huge levels of “discouragement” as hearty lives bleed away with sadness, isolation and the weights of the world.

    Simple phrases like:

    “Has anyone told you today what a great smile you have?”…can literally set a new course trajectory for a person in a given moment.

    Bruised hearts can be set ablaze when we get out of ourselves then listen and love.

    I liked this Seth.

    Thanks.

  • Thank you, Seth & Anonymous, and all. We look at others on their leg of the race & wish we were that far along or fast or efficient or sparkly. But we need to just run OUR race…live out the story God is writing in our lives. Seth-you nailed it. Our best starting point of service & obedience is wherever we are.

    (So I prayed how I could encourage someone…and #1 son did an atomic body slam on me while I read your blog…does that count? We laughed & he’s still ambulatory…)

  • i also find it to be very powerful when i choose to pray for people whom i don’t particulalrly like. all of a sudden, they don’t feel so much like an enemy to avoid anymore. suddenly i find myself rooting for them and wanting to see them well. it’s impossible to pray for someone’s blessing and wish them ill at the same time. there is this coworker whom i’ve been frustrated with for a long time for his careless work ethics and attitude. i find him repeatedly taking advantage of my graciousness. often i find myself at the loosing end and thinking, this is unfair! recently i found out that he is plagued with some family issues and seem to be in a lousy mood. i feel impressed to pray for him and i told him so. that’s when i feel the tension and bitterness inside me melting.

  • i also find it to be very powerful when i choose to pray for people whom i don’t particulalrly like. all of a sudden, they don’t feel so much like an enemy to avoid anymore. suddenly i find myself rooting for them and wanting to see them well. it’s impossible to pray for someone’s blessing and wish them ill at the same time. there is this coworker whom i’ve been frustrated with for a long time for his careless work ethics and attitude. i find him repeatedly taking advantage of my graciousness. often i find myself at the loosing end and thinking, this is unfair! recently i found out that he is plagued with some family issues and seem to be in a lousy mood. i feel impressed to pray for him and i told him so. that’s when i feel the tension and bitterness inside me melting.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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