Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sufficient Grace

A couple of months ago I committed to speak to a youth group that would be volunteering at the ACTS4 building this week.
The director, Laura, had sent out an email to see who might be interested in having a part in working with them.
I immediately felt moved to volunteer to, at least, share something with them.
Today was the day.

This week I wondered if I should just be committed.
My energy level is just about zilch and my thinking isn't much better.
If I could have gotten out of the commitment, I would have, but I wasn't about to leave them in a lurch.
So I just lurched in there and did my best.

Really I simply committed the time and effort to Papa.
It wasn't and isn't about me.
It is all about Him.

Yet, how easy it is for our flesh, the human side, to want acceptance and approval of those around us.
I mean really, who wants others, especially people who don't know us, to think poorly of us?

Normally, I am thinking about what I will share many days, if not weeks, in advance and then jot down a brief outline to remind me of the key ideas. When the time comes I am confident of what direction the talk is going and how Papa with fill in the body of that outline.  His grace is always available.
This time I gathered a few thoughts together less than twenty-four hours in advance, which left me feeling a little uneasy.  I was speaking to them about how to approach those who struggle with addiction and so it was a very familiar subject, however, I wasn't certain of what my God really wanted me to focus upon.  All I could do was commit it to the LORD with the prayer that His will be done.  I knew I could trust His grace.

Meanwhile, thoughts kept coming of how ill-prepared I was and how bored the teens would be and what would the youth leaders think??

I arrived at the building and had time to chat briefly with a couple of friends, which put me more at ease;
then the teens arrived and we gathered for our time together.
Once again I felt unsettled, but that went away the moment I opened my mouth.
As usual, I am not sure of all I shared, nor what anyone thought, but felt the peace that Jesus promises.
His grace at work!

Afterward one of the youth leaders, a woman, approached me to share her concern for a neighbor who is an alcoholic.  She asked for prayer for her neighbor and also for herself as she seeks to be a positive force in the woman's life. She said that it was no accident that I shared what I did on this particular day, as a fresh incident had just occurred and I was a help and encouragement to her.

So whether anyone else gained anything from what I shared, I do know one did and that makes it all worthwhile!

Walking with Jesus opens the way to so many opportunities to touch lives.  Actually, it is Him touching others through us.
Years ago I would spend time plotting what I would do and say in any given situation to steer conversations around to Him.
I have learn that what I was doing was pure manipulation, plain and simple.
Now, when I remember to keep it simple and just hang out with Jesus, I find that He stirs hearts without any need of me doing any of the stirring!
Yes, He can work even when my thinking is fuzzy and my body weary!
That's one of His specialties.
His grace is always sufficient!

My heart echoes Pauls' words in Second Corinthians, Chapter Twelve, verse Nine,
"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness."  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

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