How Can You Serve the Poor in Practical Ways?

A couple of days ago, a very sweet young woman approached me after I'd been speaking about the ministry I founded and run (Foundation House Ministries). 

She asked me a question that I've heard many times, and I thought you might benefit from the answer, too. You may be asking yourself this same question, but haven't reached out to me yet. (What's stopping you??)

Her question was this: 

There is so much that needs to be done. So many people that need help. So many different types of people, all needing different types of help. Where do I start??

So, here's my answer, in three parts. 

1. First of all, quit worrying about how to change the whole world. Even Jesus didn't make that His priority - and He COULD have! You, I promise, do not have the burden of rescuing the entire world.

The Lord is not foolish. He is not short-sighted. He is not going to ask one tiny human to save the entire world. You've not been enlisted to fight all the battles, just the one(s) you've been assigned!

I release you from that lie from the enemy.

2. Think about your personal passions, the desires God has laid on your heart over the years. Who have you gravitated toward in the past? Children? Homeless vets? Families living in the shelter? College students far from home and needing support and a home-cooked meal? 

Not only is God not foolish, He is also not wasteful. He is not (usually) going to surround you with opportunities to serve in one way and then call you to a vastly different area of ministry. What He typically does is equip you in small ways for bigger service later. You may be the one who loves to serve in children's ministry and then you get a calling to move to Alaska to serve the native children there. God is always intentional. He orders our path, so He isn't going to needlessly take us out of our way. He will take us exactly where we need to go in order to learn what we need so that we can be more useful vessels for His work. 

Consider this a promise from God: He isn't interested in wasting your time in places where it won't ultimately benefit Himself. Wherever you are right now, God has placed you there on purpose. Look around you. Who could you be serving? Or, who are you already serving in small ways and how can you make a bigger impact?

3. And most importantly of all, just START! Trust God to guide you to the people He wants you to serve, and give you insight into HOW to serve. 

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Isn't that an amazing promise? Often, when people ask that first question, they usually follow it up with a second one - how am I supposed to know what to do to help? And this verse is always my response. 

 Read verse 2. "This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it - the Lord is His name."

So, before you even ask how you're supposed to know what He is promising to teach you, remember that He is the Lord who formed you, who knew you in your mother's womb. He ordered your footsteps before He laid the first piece of the foundations of the world into place. I think He might know a thing or two about equipping you to do the work that He has set before you. 

This journey deeper into ministry will teach you a tremendous amount about faith and trust. Not only in God but also in yourself. Trust that He knows what He is doing - and trust that He will tell you what He wants you to know. 

It's that easy!


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