Are you a caregiver, someone who works to gather people and funds to help those of your community? There are many who are struggling with daily life? Food, heat, electricity, clothes these are the necessities of life. So many who do not have the basic needs of life. Children who do not have a warm house to come home to, no food for those empty tummies, no clean warm bed to crawl into, no……..we can list more and more. Are you one of those that step up to the plate, perhaps you are the one to take these concerns to your community, your church and you feel as I sometimes do. That I am just making a lot of noise, when people see us coming they want to run and turn their backs.
I have been struggling of late. These scriptures have been running in my head like a looped tape.
2 Corinthians 12: 7 …I was given a thorn in my flesh…
Now I know Paul was given a thorn to keep him from becoming proud.
But maybe I am a thorn in the flesh to others.
1 Corinthians 13:1 …but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong…
I think I do love others, but in doing so am I just a noisy gong.
Acts 26:14 …It is hard for you to kick against the goads.
Is that what I have been doing, trying to get my ideas,
my heart across to others, just kicking against the goads.
Becoming bloody and hurt.
Matthew 10:14 …or listen to your message,
shake its dust from your feet as you leave.
Is that what I have to do, suck it up, swallow it, and accept the fact that what I am trying "sell" is a product they do not want?
love my church, my family of Brothers and Sisters in Christ. But I have come to a place where I need to make a decision and I am struggling very hard with it. When I struggle with something, I have learned the best way for me to get answers is to sit down and put it on paper. I believe when I let my fingers do the thoughts, I receive what I believe is the plan God has for me. Sounds strange to some probably, but that is the way it is for me.
I am a member of the mission team at our church; my responsibility is outreach in our local area. I really was not given or asked to take that position. It is self-appointed, something I love and maybe I have pushed it too hard. I know when Jesus gave the order to go out and take the message of the gospel, he said to all nations. I do have a heart for foreign missions and support them, but my real love and heart is my community. Did Jesus mean only foreign lands? Or does that include our country, our neighborhoods and our communities. If I lived in another country then this country would be a foreign land. Right?
I was recently told or perhaps my interpretation of what I was told is "you feel deeply - others don't. Do not lay your feelings, concerns so strongly on others. Basically they do not feel the same way and in some cases they don't care." Maybe I am trying to shove it down their throats.
The song by Bob Dylan immediately starting playing in my head Blowing in the Wind. I love Peter Paul and Mary's version of it.
How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see
How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry
Am I being dramatic? Maybe, but when it come to this subject I get a bit dramatic.
I am against abortion, I am also pro-life. I believe when a child is born he/she becomes our responsibility at any and every age. This includes when they are grown. We have a responsibility to care for people in need. When Jesus sent his disciples out he told them –Matt. 10:8-10 take no provisions – Was Jesus telling them to depend on God to provide what they would need. Was God intending to send manna from the sky, partridges in the wind? Little shacks for them to live in or clothes for their bodies, beds to rest in; I don't think so. Jesus was saying God will send the people to provide for you and your physical needs, food, a place to stay, ears to hear your message. And... if they choose not- then shake the dust from your shoes and move on. As a caregiver is that what I should do? Chalk it up to experience and move on?
I am in my mid-seventies and have been a born again Christian for less than a decade. I always believed in God, knew who Jesus was, but I didn't have a relationship with Him. On the other hand I have always cared very deeply for people, helping them whenever I was able. Wanting to even when I couldn't or didn't know how to.
Since becoming a Christian and having a relationship with my lord and Savior that passion only burns brighter and I have been given the honor to serve on three outreach boards in my county, a county smaller in numbers but very large in poverty. Our area is a resort community where people love to live in the summer but go elsewhere in the winter. This makes for a very beautiful place to live but when fall, winter and spring arrive the job market becomes a struggle for most making the mere basics of living an even greater struggle. Salvation Army has a small homeless shelter in the county; it is most always full with people waiting to get in. It is common in our county for people to be found huddled in their cars or sleeping in various shelters to get out of the elements. We have found families living in campers designed for summer living only or even tents.
I have heard people say "well why don't they move?" where? Where do they go?
The three outreach organizations put a lot of money into the county trying to make people's lives tolerable with basic needs – heat, electricity, food, shelter, helping them with car repairs to keep them able to get to work, medical, schooling, home repairs – whatever it is that keeps them on their feet and moving forward.
All of these outreach organizations depend on the people in their areas to support them not only with money, but SUPPORT. All I am asking is - get behind us and our people and support them. Let me tell you and show you what the organization does, how it works and helps people. Then you make the choice whether to give financial aid or not. People need to hear about the desperation within their own communities. I sit on these boards not because I have nothing to do with my time or I am looking for recognition. That is not what people working in these areas are about. Our hearts break for what we see, what we hear. In our county by the three organizations working together we can better help those in need plus we can keep a finger on anyone trying to work the system. We each have two other resources to call on for information and back round checking. Yes, sometimes we miss one that has an angle, but not very often. It cuts my phone time in half. I can get a "yes" or a "no" out to that person faster.
Sometimes the burden of it does get to be too much and many people tell me "just say no…don't serve". I suppose that is good advice, but in most areas there are not people who will step up to the plate. It takes time and it takes a heart. It is easy to say don't do it, they do not have the poking of the Holy Spirit that sometimes we wish would just go away. Please don't misunderstand what I am saying. There are so many good caring giving people and for all of you I am very grateful and I thank God every day for you. Please, please keep helping and giving your support to those that do.
What I am struggling with today are the ones who don't see and don't hear. Their eyes and their hearts are turned to missions of other countries and feel mission work doesn't belong in own communities. I too feel the need for our missionaries to other countries and I support them and pray for them. But I cannot ignore my own communities.
So today I feel like a NOISY GONG! (1Corinthians 13;1)
A THORN IN THE FLESH ( 2Corinthians 12:7-10)
KICKING AGAINST THE GOADS (Acts 5:9)
I feel this often when I must bring something to the people in the community. I am tolerated, endured, put up with but I can almost hear them saying "oh it's her again".
I am certain that I am doing what Christ has put on my heart to do. But how long do I kick against the goads before I realize I am trying to push things that are not wanted. Jesus told his disciples to shake the dust off their feet as they left (Matt. 10:14) In other words – Don't push it. Quit being a noise gong, stop being a thorn in their sides. Is that what I am being told today?
I have been praying very hard about this now for a couple of weeks. I still do not have a definitive answer; this is the busiest time of year for donating. But I feel the following is how I must approach this season.
NO! NO! NO! NO! You do not quit. You do not let them win. You focus on those who are giving of their time and their money. Draw from their encouragement. Keep on keeping on. Jesus was not appreciated in his our town, that happens to us also in our own communities and churches. We can't move, maybe change our strategy, maybe we are pushing to hard, talk to other caregivers and above all pray ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, he is always on your side. He won't lead you in the wrong direction.
Let’s get those Shoe Boxes packed, those Red Kettles and bells ringing,
those Giving Trees up and filled to over flowing.
Jesus knows your heart – just do it,
DO IT PROUDLY AND IN HIS NAME.