Hi my name is Marcy. In order to help you I am going to ask you some basic questions. These questions will help us learn more about you and find out how we can help.
She looked down at the carpet. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me. She quietly answered my questions. It was the first time I had ever been in this type of helping position with a person. My intake sheet wasn’t helping me strike up a conversation so I quit filling it out and just started talking to her. She looked up at me with her brown eyes. She wore old faded jeans and a t-shirt. It didn’t look like she had washed her hair in a while, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that a human in need was sitting right in front of me.
She told me that she was living with a relative and had a son. She was divorced. Her husband was in jail. She told me what he did to get there. She told me about the day the FBI came to her front door and informed her of his crime. She told me how she lost everything after that and how she had to move because people in her community screamed profanities at her because of what her husband had done. She told me about her life after that. She got involved in prostitution, drugs, dancing for money, alcohol, and was currently living in an abusive situation. A situation I would later witness for myself.
After she finished her story she looked at me and said, “Can you help?”
I was floored. My head was spinning. Our small Christian nonprofit did not have the resources to help her with all that she needed. What was I going to do? Send her out with a brochure? We were there to help single mothers with resources, parenting programs, and Christian counseling, but her needs went way beyond what we were equipped to help with.
I did what I could and asked her if she would come back and talk with me. After my volunteer shift was over I went out to my car and cried. I called my friend who was also the founding member of the organization and said, “You knew. You knew what this would do to me”. She said yes, I did. What it did was utterly change my life and heart and it opened my eyes to see the pain and suffering in the world. What it did was help me see the AMAZING opportunity that we had to touch peoples lives with the love and hope of Christ! God woke me up from my slumber. I was on fire for helping hurting people.
I need to do more to help people…..
One of the things that I heard very often was “we need to do more”. The needs of the men and women that we served were many. Volunteers never felt as if they could do enough. When ministering to others it’s hard to feel like we have done enough to help them and in fact we may feel like we haven’t helped at all. We live and work in results driven world. In the nonprofit world that we operated in we were asked to keep statistics and demographics so that we could collect the needed data to measure who we were serving, how we were serving them, and how well we were serving them. The world wants results and who can blame them. We want to be sure we are working diligently to meet the needs of others, using resources wisely, and doing what we say we are going to do, but in the context of ministry measuring results becomes difficult.
We worked with some women for several years. I mentored and counseled a handful of women for 3-4 years. During our time together I did not always see major life change. They didn’t always start attending church, get a great job, or turn their life around in many other ways. We could show that we provided them with a lot of resources and information, but could not prove that our help changed their lives in the ways we hoped.
1. Ultimately it’s for God.
God created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7).
We are commanded to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19)
We are not commanded to obtain results, but be faithful and diligent to follow God’s commands to love our neighbor as ourself. (Mark 12:31)
“Here is the great secret of success. Work with all your might; but trust not in the least in your work. Pray with all your might for the blessing of God; but work, at the same time, with all diligence, with all patience, with all perseverance. Pray then, and work. Work and pray. And still again pray, and then work. And so on all the days of your life. The result will surely be, abundant blessing. Whether you see much fruit or little fruit, such kind of service will be blessed… – George Muller
2. Work diligently.
Work as if God didn’t exist and it relies solely upon you, but don’t trust in your work.
Seek God and trust God, but work hard to meet the needs of others.
As George Muller says, “whether you see much fruit or little fruit, such kind of service will blessed”.
Strive to follow God’s commands and bring Him glory by loving and serving others.
Work diligently to meet the spiritual and temporal needs of those in need, but don’t trust in your actions to bring about life change.
Our job may be to plant the seed and it may be anothers job to bring about the harvest.
A few years after I left the nonprofit the new Director asked to meet me for lunch. She wanted to share how things were going. During our time together she told me about some clients that I had served. She said that one in particular had told her how I had changed her life. It was a client I spent a few years mentoring. She wanted me to know that I had changed her life, that she had a family now, and was in church. She wanted me to know she loved me for all that I had done for her. That is proof that there is a God. I never felt that I had done enough for her. I never felt as if I was making any progress, but this woman says I changed her life. It wasn’t me. It was God.
God needs us to show up and do His will. He needs us to love people and work diligently to meet their needs, but ultimately we trust in Him for the results.