Pssst...WEgo, do YOUgo?

Ok, I am going to say it out loud…I often think my church has too many programs. There, I said it. Prayerfully, I can circle around to get to this point without losing too many of you.

In preparation for my blog, I had been “writing” in my head. However, instead of going straight to the computer, the Lord had me outside watering my flowerbeds. For those of you not in Texas, it’s hot here. It has been over 100 degrees for the past few days and it was 98 degrees at noon when I was out watering my plants. Not only is it hot, we are still on watering restrictions. We can only water with sprinklers two days per week. Oh, how I miss the days of last summer when I could run my sprinklers every single day and never pick up the water hose.

As I stood there in the heat sweating like a pig, the Holy Spirit was whispering to me, “The planting and watering must take place for things to grow and multiply. If we fail to plant, we will never see blooms. If we fail to water, baby believers will fail to take root, shrivel up and die. But, with the right amount of water and care, the believer will dig deep, be secure and teach others how to get just the right amount of water. Some will plant, some will water and some will harvest. It doesn’t matter who does what, it just matters that it gets done. Don’t continue to take in water if you see that someone else needs it more.” (See 1 Corinthians 3:6-7) As I looked over my flowerbeds, I could see this whisper playing out. I noticed my newly planted annuals (Mexican heather and zinnias) were burnt up – some hadn’t even taken root, just flopped over and out of their holes -- a pathetic sight indeed. My more established shrubs were fairing much better. For the time being, they are still green.

We often run our sprinklers every day and continue to water when we don’t even need to water. I learned from last year, that if you water too much, the grass may look green, but when the season changes, algae and mold start to form on the grass and the shrubs that survived summer can’t survive winter or spring because their roots didn’t have to dig deep enough to get water. When we make things too comfortable within our own walls, we often have a hard time getting those we teach and feed to leave the building. They are perpetual dinner guests who don’t want to leave and even when they do, they can’t figure out how to make the same meal on their own.

However, I had an experience this past week that gave me a glimmer of hope. Our wonderful women’s ministry puts on an awesome women’s retreat every year. Instead of keeping this great program to ourselves, our women’s ministry took this same women’s retreat on the road. Forty-three women set out for a Transitional Living Center (aka shelter) in Houston called Star of Hope to put on this retreat for the women who call this place home. The Star of Hope did not require every woman to attend the event and we heard stories of women who tried to arrange not to be in that place during the time we were there. Not only were the right people right where they needed to be, the Lord showed up as well.
Each of the forty-three women brought different spiritual and natural gifts to the trip. Some were great at crafts, decorations, leading, teaching, singing and cooking. I didn’t have a preference and wanted the Lord to put me right where I needed to be. He decided to put me in the kitchen for three days (not much different than what I do at home on a daily basis!). Even though I didn’t get to see all of the amazing things that took place, I was able to hear stories of women being freed from bondage, feeling love for the first time in a long time and praying for their children to stop the generational bondage that binds their family. As I sat down to eat one day, I heard from a woman who had been an alcoholic for 35 years. She battled her way to sobriety, but as she finally drew close to the Lord, He gave her the gift of delivering her from cigarettes almost immediately. Thank you Jesus for reminding us about miracles, healing and deliverance that are taking place all over the world every day.

No matter what motivated my fellow sisters to go on the mission trip this past week, God uses everything for good (Romans 8:28) and each one left with a story uniquely her own. Some gave water to women who were close to death. Some watered seeds that already had been planted and some were ready to be harvested so that they in turn could water after we left. Some of the women from the shelter expressed how grateful they were for us being there, but how sad they would be after we left. We couldn’t stay – we had a short God-given purpose for being there. We had to graciously exit and not overstay our welcome. By the grace of God, I pray that we left them with enough water to continue to grow.

As I said in my first sentence, I often think my church (and many others) has too many programs. We lull ourselves into being comfortable, over-fed and over-watered all in the name of fellowship and community. Without some restrictions, we risk killing our God-given destiny to do so much more than what we are doing. Church shouldn’t just be about the fellowship and the taking in of knowledge. It is not only to feel good or to receive blessings. We need to take what we receive and remember that we serve a great, great God who has called us to GO OUT (not sit in) and make disciples wherever we are and wherever we go. (Emphasis mine, see Matthew 28:19)

As our women’s ministry director stated after our trip, “WEwent.” My question to you is, will you?

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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