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Serve Him

May 20, 2011

I thought that if I served others then I was serving God.

He is teaching me that in order to truly serve others then I must first serve Him in all I do.

I have the tendency that when I feel a strong inclination to do something then I either a) think it to death and talk myself out of whatever feeling I have (only because of fear of the unknown) or b) act on it immediately/impulsively.

There’s no real in-between for me. No gray matter (usually). Hot or cold. Black or white. On or off.

However, when it came to my faith I realized I was just the opposite. I was lukewarm. I was gray matter. I was not really on, but I wasn’t always off. I was a contradiction to my very own character.

I had such a strong conviction to travel to Africa almost four years ago. This desire to go literally came out of the blue and when I returned from Ethiopia almost three years ago, I knew I would return. This is where I noticed my character began to change. This is where my faith really began to grow. Where God convicted me of my lukewarm faith. Where he whispered to me time and time again to spend time in communion with Him. To realize He was so much bigger than I, or maybe you, make Him out to be. I had a real thirst to know Him. Who is this man? Who is this God? Who is this man who gave me a desire to know Ethiopia? To love Ethiopia?

I wanted to return to Ethiopia as soon as I possibly could God kept asking me to wait. And over the past few months, He has finally revealed to me why the timing hasn’t been made perfect yet.

I need to serve Him first before I can serve anyone.

My faith was in desperate need of some updating. My heart in some serious need of repentance. My soul wanted to serve, but God wants me to know who He is first. To have a thirst for Him so I can have the strength to serve others.

A reminder came to me about knowing Him through a newsletter that Teresa sent out a few weeks ago. (If you would like to be on the mailing list for Tom and Teresa’s updates, then please send me a note with your email address). Teresa had a chance to travel to visit the Tarra people with Helismission in April. She sent out her May newsletter with a continuation to her story from Tikempt Ishet to the isolated jungle where the Tarra people live. Upon Teresa and her team’s arrival, they were each welcomed by smiles, hugs, and handshakes. One of her team members had been working on translating the bible into their language since the Tarra people do not speak Ahmaric (the dominant language of Ethiopia). This team member got out one of his translated Bible stories and began to read it out loud. I was moved to tears when I read what Teresa wrote, “You should have seen the look of joy on the people’s faces as they recognized God’s Word was now in their own language. They broke out in spontaneous celebration!”

I am in awe of such a beautiful picture. Willing servants traveling to an unreached people group who have never heard the Word of God written or spoken in their own language without first having to hear it translated 3-4 times before they get to hear the first words uttered. And they celebrate!

My bible can sit unopened for days since I have a computer handy to look up verses, books, chapters. Or I can even use my iphone to look up the Word. I am so “used to God”, but I have no idea the gift He is. I am so lukewarm. But the Tarra people, well, they are HOT. They are on. There is no in-between. They thirst to know more of God. Of his salvation. Of his sovereignty.

I want that passion.

I want to break out in spontaneous celebration when someone speaks of God. Maybe I will get strange looks, but I’ve thought about doing that in the middle of church just to see everyone’s reactions. Ok, maybe I won’t, but I definitely think about it. Ha!

I am beginning to understand this passion more than I did three years ago when I stepped off the plane in Ethiopia for the first time. When I do return to Ethiopia this year, I want to be prepared as much as possible. I want to wait for God’s perfect timing, but to still live this life in radical ways right here, right now. One of those ways is to know Him. To spend time with Him. To serve Him with my time. Each step I have to take is made with confidence knowing that He is paving the way and preparing me for whatever He has in store for me.

I thank Tom and Teresa for their radical way of living. For sharing the story of their visit with the Tarra people. For reminding me that we lukewarm is not ok. For reminding me to be still and slow down for a moment and realize that this life is so much more enjoyable when we have a reason why we love to serve others.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:15-16

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