Vowing to Serve God in 2016, Part II
In part I, I challenged you, as older women, (The principles apply to younger women too.) to vow, or a solemn promise, to God to serve Him in specific ways in 2016. I encouraged you to ask God in prayer what it is He would have you to do to be of service to others this year. Lastly, I gave you some examples from Scripture of women who dedicated their time and talents to serving others.
Don’t ever put limits on what, how, when, and where God can use you. And, lest you think to serve God you must do something that demands a special talent or gifting, Matthew 25:35-40 gives us these words of Jesus spoken to his children, “For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me…When you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.” I think our problem is that we don’t always really believe this. We think only the cleric or specifically gifted people truly do meaningful service to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Frederick William Robertson, nineteenth century minister, stated, “It is not the possession of extraordinary gifts that make extraordinary usefulness, but the dedication of what we have to the service of God.” These words of Christ clearly are written about any act of kindness done by any child of God to anyone in need.
I recall the notes of encouragement that a woman whom I knew only as Anna would give out to friends. In her younger years Anna had been the visitation pastor of her church where she would minister to the sick and shut-ins. After her retirement and living on a very modest income, Anna would write notes of encouragement and leave one at each lady’s plate at the monthly meetings of Friends Needing Friends. She would leave one by my plate too, and I treasured them and kept one for years, even after God called Anna Home. She simply wrote notes, something not requiring a particular talent, yet something that served to encourage her fellow widows when such words were often too few in their lives. Anna relayed that when she couldn’t sleep at night, instead of watching television or reading, she would write her cards. Age may have slowed Anna down, but it didn’t stop her and until her final illness, she faithfully blessed her fellow widows with her sweet notes.
Another excuse common to older women is that they’re too old and don’t have the strength and good health they used to possess. I know the reality of diminishing physical strength. It’s just a part of the aging process. But the one thing I never want to be guilty of is using that as an excuse to do nothing, and I pray the same for you.
In Philippians 4:13 Paul reminds us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You will find that true too, as God will never ask you to do anything that He won’t give you the ability to accomplish.
I’m reminded of two women that most of you know: Dotti Ackerman and Mary Lou Tweed. Dotti is the founder of Friends Needing Friends and the director of the Florida chapter and Mary Lou Tweed is the director of the New Jersey chapter. From the time that FNF was established, Dotti planned her vacations around the month of August when there was a hiatus from the meetings. And, in over 27 years, she has only missed one or two meetings. Even this past year, when she was undergoing chemo and radiation treatments, Dotti continued to work from home during some of those difficult days doing the newsletter and the FNF blog. Mary Lou, who underwent knee surgery this past year, scheduled it during the month of hiatus, thus not missing a meeting. They may not have been 100% well and strong, but they planned the timing of medical procedures around their ministries. I know that isn’t always possible, but I use them as examples of how dedicating yourself to service and seeing it as a solemn vow to God will inspire you to even work around physical challenges, instead of using those challenges as an excuse to do nothing.
The “why” of your service to God should be evident by now. Scripture is full of admonition to serve and examples of those who served God through service to others. Jesus is our greatest example for this. Remember when he washed the feet of his disciples, he was doing a slave’s task, and by dying on the cross for our sins, he was treated as a common criminal. Matthew 20:28 reminds us, “Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve . . .” I encourage you as “mature women” to not give in to the temptation as Cynthia and Robert Hicks put it “to become idle. . . A woman of mature strength does not use this time in her life to waste, sitting around the house, eating and watching television all day.” Contemplate the words of author Debra Evans, “Like the women saints who came before us, our value to the Lord is not measured by the size of our paycheck, the sum of our earnings, the status of our position. Kneeling before Christ’s throne – with nothing to offer but ourselves – by God’s grace we are sent forth in His service. I wonder: Where will He lead us?”
Make the widow Marta Felber’s prayer your own as you look forward to 2016.
Dear God, There is so much distress and need in the world.
Guide me to the place where I can be of service, and help
me to minister in your name. Amen
Message by Shari Hervold
Congratulations Shari and Thor Hervold on the arrival of their first grandson. The parents named the boy Valbjorn Magnus Mehring and made his appearance on 1/6/16. Kaara (Shari’s daughter) is comfortable and she and Richard are delighted . . . and we have a new hand to hold and life to cherish.
Isn't he beautiful! I just love this picture.
This is the perfect time in our FNF blog to offer
"Praise and Worship" to our God for His many blessings.
Now relax and enjoy the special praise music by Michael Smith.