Absolutely we are responsible for ourselves and for our growth and development. Absolutely, if we have spouses or children or extended family, we are responsible to meet and be sensitive to their needs. And absolutely we are responsible to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And we also are responsible to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us who do not yet know Christ.
That will look different for each of us, depending on our stage of life and circumstances. When my four children were younger, I could not go to lunch discussions or one-on-one tutoring sessions as easily as I can now. Much of my ministry was to them and Doug. External ministry was primarily having college students in our home (since Doug was a campus minister) and spending time with them as I was able.
When we moved to Oklahoma City in 2001, I saw that the public elementary school in our neighborhood was looking for people to join the newly formed Community Advisory Board. I cared about education and literacy, so I went to a meeting to see how I might help. No big whoop.
From there, God has given me relationships and opportunities to help in other ways in the school, neighborhood, and city. My life absolutely is richer for it.
This is not meant as a guilt trip. We are not all meant to do all things. We are not even meant to do at one time all the things about which we are passionate. That’s part of the beauty of it. We are meant to do different things, things that bring the image of God in us to bear on the world around us.
My opportunities are not your opportunities and vice versa. But what are your opportunities? What has God made you care about? What comes to your mind unprompted? In your current stage of life, what form might that take? Brainstorm with friends. Ask God to show you.
God is creative. God cares about the world. Let’s be creative and care about the world, too.
Julie Serven craves shalom for people and places. She enjoys editing, helping people with literacy skills, hearing people’s stories, exploring all things OKC, yoga, NPR, and spending time with her ultracool family.