Through my job I get to listen to stories from people at my church about how God is moving. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Berry Stephens about his 25 years volunteering and being in charge of the grounds at church. Berry and I were friends at Hoggard - although he is much older than I! It has been a blessing being reacquainted with Berry and his family. It is amazing to see what God has done with our lives since high school! What a gift to have Christian friends!
I knew Berry probably liked working the grounds because he enjoys hunting and fishing - being outside. When I asked him why he likes to be in charge of the grounds he answered quickly. “Because I don’t have to write.” I laughed and then he said, “because I don’t have to speak in front of people. His third answer was, “because it takes minimal organizational skills.”
I laughed when Berry first said he would not have to write because that is what I love to do. When he said he would not have to speak in front of people I was on board with him! Then he mentioned the organizational skills and that is one of my strengths….sometimes to a fault! God can use us all - it takes all kinds! We all have different strengths and gifts. 1 Peter 4: 10-11, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms….If anyone serves they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
One family across the street from the church would speak to the people working on the grounds. He would offer his equipment and chat for a while. According to him, the church members were so nice and welcoming that a few years later when he and his wife decided to look for a church home they visited and have since joined. Another woman who Berry sees walking her dog always stops and speaks. One day she stopped and helped him put out pine straw! Now he sees her at church! This is a ministry!
For various reasons, people have found their niche in different jobs. Some people had issues walking but could ride the lawn mower, some loved annuals and that was their specialty. One man trimmed all the shrubs. Everybody used their gift! Picking up litter seems so menial but what an important job that is! Can you imagine what a church yard on a busy street would look like if the litter was never picked up?
A lot of money has been saved through the years by volunteers doing the church yard. This is a church being wise stewards of their money. Serving is a great form of generosity and an awesome way to honor God! When we serve we worship God by stewarding our time and talents for Him. Serving with others is a blessing. When we’re working side by side with other people, bonds are formed. This was part of God’s plan for how the church is supposed to work. Hebrews 10: 24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
When we see the ways God uses our service to bring glory to Him our faith grows. Meeting people in the church yard while we are working and then seeing them visit and join increases our faith. Ephesians 3: 20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us….” God can use our service in any area!
Churches have so many areas to serve. You can serve outside, inside, alone, with a group, with seniors, with babies, with youth, with young couples, with singles, with the sick, with the grieving and so many more. You have a God given gift. Are you using it?