“...if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
God promises that His blessing on those who walk closely with Him will be seen in His continual refreshment of us, as we serve Him by reaching out to others, in taking merciful care of their needs.
He doesn’t say it will be easy to do this. In fact He uses the phrase, “pour yourself out.” That sounds like a lot of hard work and an investment of time, resources and emotional energy.
We’ve certainly found that to be true. It takes an outpouring of hard work and money to do what we’re doing in Jesus’ name, week by week. Sometimes the emotional investment in people‘s lives can be heart-wrenching.
We have to guard against falling into a habit of focusing on all the hard work and neglecting the close relationship with Jesus. Serving others will eat you alive if it doesn’t grow out of a true and living relationship with God. Our hearts can quickly become hard and desensitized or overburdened and exhausted. On the mission field we called it “compassion fatigue.”
But when loving service grows out of a true and living faith it becomes a source of joy and refreshment. God keeps His promise and fills us with a cheerful attitude of joy and refreshment. Our home and our church become refreshing, friendly, light-filled places to gather, not gloomy or depressing ones!
Lord, thank you for all the ways you have given us to connect with people around us and serve them in Your name. Give us eyes to see the people we serve as You see them. Keep our hearts close to You. Fill us with your presence even as you supply the strength and other resources we need to serve You, here where you have planted us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles