Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
A few years ago, God put my faith listening ears and my trust in Him to the test. He asked me to step outside my well-built comfort zone based on the pride of working. For an unknown period of time, He directed me to feed the homeless with 100 lunches once a week. He told me what to make and where to take the food. He tested and challenged me week after week to put my complete faith in Him. To stand resolutely with Him. For almost a year I experienced a relationship with God like no other.
As I wrote the other day, sometimes God asks us to stay silent. Other times, like during His 100 Lunches Project, God asks us to step up and say, “Yes!” And if we aren’t paying attention, aren’t tuned in to His character, aren’t sure that He is directing us, then we miss out on great gifts of intimacy with Him.
The actual making of the first few weeks of lunches wasn’t so far out of my comfort zone. I had enthusiastic helpers and a husband who supported my venture. But as time passed and God kept calling, I was faced with having to be resolute in following Him. For one, my husband thought this would be sort of a “one and done” activity. Not a financial investment and something that would take up room in our already full garage. He also was concerned for my safety as I ventured into potentially dangerous areas, at times alone. I could have easily agreed with him on all counts and shut the program down. But I knew God wanted me to stand firm. So, as I explained to my husband, God was directing this project, not me, he relented with a few requests. One being that if I didn’t go with someone that I would regularly check in via text.
And then there was my work schedule. At the time I was a long term substitute in a school office. I prided myself on always being on the schedule to work at one school or another. It was my source of “happiness” that people needed me. The direction I was getting from God was to give out lunches in the middle of the week. Doing that would require me to tell the school I currently worked I couldn’t be there that day for an unknown period of time. My fear was they would let me go. And so, I prayed to God. Asking Him to guide me and bolster me. The day I spoke to the office secretary I told her, “I’m doing this lunch project, directed by God. And I can’t work Wednesdays anymore.” A weird thing to say, for sure. Especially in the more liberal area that I live. The response? “Sounds good. We will take you any day you can work for us.”
That’s how the year went. Door after door opened. And some closed as needed. I watched and listened for His Word. And I did His work in His name. It was glorious!
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
The greatest lesson I learned that year was about trust. Trusting in that when God speaks to us and gives us a challenge He will provide. And any obstacle that is put in front of you, you can stand firm in who has your back. That year I had many people scoff at what I was doing. Family, friends, policemen, strangers. But when you know that your mission is God-sent nothing should stop you. You can be resolute.
So many of us Christians are sitting and waiting for God to call us to something special and yet we haven’t taken up the directions already laid out before us in God’s Holy Word. We don’t need another whisper to tell us to be kind or forgiving. We don’t need a tap on the shoulder to know how dangerous our gossiping tongue can be. It’s all there in the Good Book waiting to be lived out. We just need to take a stand for God.
The process of sanctification starts with the basics and moves on toward more and more challenges of trust. When He sees we are obeying the small things He places more of His banquet in front of us. But like the process of knowing when to stay silent we must be able to discern it is God, not our flesh, directing us. I knew it was God asking me to embark on this grand project because it asked me to do things so in opposite of my own desires and yet followed perfectly His.
When you act for God you will have detractors. You will have people that call you crazy. You might even have people who get angry with you. You might have to ask God to confirm you are on the right path. And I’ll tell you, brothers and sisters, when you are on that path, the work you do for Him will be seen by people who need to see it. You just may never realize it.
There were so many lessons for me in that year of 100 Lunches (which grew to about 300 per week!). And one day in December of that year God said to me, “You are done. It’s time for something else.” He closed that door and told me to stop. Even then I needed to be resolute. People chastised me for not continuing. Someone got quite angry with me. My response? “This wasn’t my project to begin with, it was God’s. He told me to be done so I am done. But you are free to serve in my place.”
I mentioned in my last post about the story from Sparkling Gems from the Greek and listening to God’s voice. I’d like to share with you the prayer from that day.
Lord, help me follow the Holy Spirit’s leading whenever He impresses me to do something. I know there have been moments in my life when the Spirit was leading me to do something. But because I didn’t understand it, I didn’t obey – and later I was always sorry. Please help me become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to trust Him when He speaks to my heart. I want to be obedient and to experience the supernatural life that He wants to give me! I pray this in Jesus’ name!