Faith in Action
May 19, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
On July 2, 1982, Larry Walters of Los Angeles, California, filled 45 weather balloons with helium and tethered them to an aluminum lawn chair. He soared to 16,000 feet for 11 hours before shooting some of the balloons with his pellet gun and eventually drifting down and getting entangled in power lines at Long Beach. After being rescued, the Long Beach Police Department promptly arrested him for violating LAX airspace. As he was led away in handcuffs, a reporter asked why he had done it. Larry replied, “A man can’t just sit around!”
There are moments in life when God urgently wants to talk to us. What I have learned is that during those moments, He whispers. Moreover, I have also observed that He will not compete with the other “distractions” in life. Webster’s Dictionary defines whisper as “to speak softly with little or no vibration of the vocal cords, especially to avoid being overheard.” In order to hear a whisper, one must be still and the surrounding environment quiet or it will not register.
Does still and quiet describe your life? It did not mine. So, one by one, the Lord removed the “distractions.” This was not a pleasant experience! During the process, it seemed like a series of severe setbacks.
Suddenly, I had all this free time. As a very active person -- after my morning workout, I began a new habit of walking with my dog around the neighborhood loop next to a bayou. It was quiet, really quiet. To my great surprise, I began to hear the Lord whisper, not in an audible voice, but definitely His presence trying to communicate with me. For the first time in a long time, I began to remember who Jesus is and what He had done for me: The King of the Universe died in my place.
A flood of emotions overwhelmed me: surprise, astonishment, guilt and relief! Beautiful relief! Imagine being on Death Row. I mean really imagine it. Now imagine that the Governor calls, not to stay your sentence but to offer himself in your place. Get the picture now? In Luke 16:22 Jesus describes what awaits those who die separated from God. It is not a pleasant picture. Gratitude flooded over me as I remembered that was no longer my fate. “My chains are gone; my debt is paid; from death to life and grace to grace!”
I recently heard a pastor ask his congregation if anyone thought that winning the lottery would be a great thing. Practically every hand went up. He then explained that if any person has accepted Jesus as their Lord, the greatest thing that could ever happen to a human being has already happened to them.
So if something greater than winning the lottery had already happened to me, why was I not jumping up and down and shouting for joy? The answer did not stay hidden for long! I am not a recent Christian, but through the years (decades actually), my love for Jesus had grown stone cold. I had lost the joy of my salvation and let my hope fade. Now, the Lord had restored it for me! What an amazing gift!
All who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord receive this amazing gift and because of it, we “can’t just sit around” and do nothing! As gratitude and love for Jesus swells within us, the natural result should be a desire to convert faith into action. We live in a world where God’s church is mocked and insulted on a daily basis. Let us fight back as Jesus would fight back! The world will not come to church, so let us take church to the world! How do we do that? I prayerfully struggled with this question as God restored the joy of my salvation! I wanted this time to be different.
Well, in no time ServeFest came along. For one Sunday our church would not meet in the sanctuary, but instead join the front lines as volunteer groups for various service projects. My LIFE Group volunteered at Hope Impacts, a Katy charitable organization providing services to the homeless.
Homeless people in Katy/Cinco Ranch? Really? Yes, really! For three hours, which flew by, we landscaped, organized supplies and cleaned out a storage unit. At the end, I was tired and messy -- but it felt awesome! I thought, “How can I make service a regular part of my life so it is not just a one-time, feel-good experience?”
The following Wednesday I went back to Hope Impacts. They seemed slightly surprised to see me again. I just asked, “What can I do to help?” For the next two hours, I did laundry, folded towels, dried and put away dishes, swept the kitchen floor, organized in-take folders, etc. Again, the time flew by!
It might seem strange to some that a college-educated person would perform such menial tasks. I would respond, “No task done for the Lord is ‘menial.’” Will I always have two hours on a Wednesday afternoon to give? Probably not, but I will give something! Why? Because at the end of my race, I long to hear the Master speak: Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40