I once heard a story about a married couple that would go to great lengths in an effort to display their love for one another. They went out of their way to be creative and ever-intentional in telling the other how much they were loved.
“S.H.M.I.L.Y.” – See How Much I Love You
The wife would leave a piece of paper with the acronym S.H.M.I.L.Y., which represented the following statement, “See How Much I Love You”, in her husbands socks as she folded them up, knowing that when he went to wear them the note would fall out.
The husband would leave a similar piece of paper in the flour container knowing that when his wife went to bake something, she would find the note.
This went on for years; in fact, this carried on throughout their marriage and in countless ways. An intentional way of demonstrating one another’s love for each other.
As Christians that are committed to living our lives to the fullest, demonstrating our love for others is essential! We know the extent of God’s love for us in that while we were still sinners, God sent His Son – a life lived by Jesus of love and in death and ressurection, a life of redemption made possible.
If we are image bearers of Christ, how much should we then look to love others in how we live beyond ourselves?
Living Beyond Yourself
This past weekend I shared the first of a 2-part message from a story found in 2 Kings 4, a message about how to live beyond ourselves. I’ll share the second part next weekend. This message is one part of a collection of messages given in our “Live It Up!” series at Country Bible Church. To check out the video series of messages, you can visit the MEDIA page.
Below are a few of the highlights I’ve pulled from the message:
#1 // Living beyond yourself means RECOGNIZING that we all have something to give!
For far too long I have been witness to people all over the church that don’t feel like they have anything to give. What’s more is there are an equally alarming number of folks within the church that don’t give because they don’t feel like what they have to give compares to what others in the church are giving, i.e., finances, volunteer hours, experiences, spiritual gifts, etc.
While I understand that there are some gifts and givers that are more obvious and outspoken, I struggle with the notion that someone wouldn’t see value in what they have to give based on what others are doing in the church. Each one of us has something to give; every person that has come into a right-relationship with Jesus has been awarded a gift by the Holy Spirit and God is able to redeem our experiences and education and time as well as our financial gifts for His good purposes and glory. We are not called to compare our gifts with others or wonder around in darkness with little effort given to understanding our gifts and how they can be used by God in the lives of others.
On the contrary!
What I believe we are to do is to intentionally recognize those unique gifts that God has given us as individuals and look for opportunities to share our gifts with others!
What are you gifted in that God wants to bless others with through you?
#2 // Living beyond yourself means LOOKING for opportunities to give!
I just said it but it bares repeating. What I believe we are to do, with regards to our gifts, is to intentionally recognize our unique gifts that God has given us as individuals and to look for opportunities to share our gifts with others.
Last week during our annual Vacation Bible School, we had 75 adult volunteers intentionally look for opportunities to share their gifts with children from all over our community. Here are just a few of the “wins” from the week:
- 235 people attended Vacation Bible School
- 75 adults volunteered their time and gifts in serving at VBS
- We raised $840.76 in children brining in their change, which 100% of the money brought in will be given to our local food bank to meet the needs of the needy in our community
- We had more volunteers for this one event than we have had in recent history
- There are countless stories coming out of our VBS week together in which these children’s lives will be changed forever
All of these things and more were made possible by our Great Big God and the tremendous sacrifices of the volunteers whom made our VBS week not only possible, but wildly successful!
Every person that volunteered recognized that they had something to give and came looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children.
While recognizing that we all have something to give: time, money, a skill or craft, etc., recognition is just the beginning. We must look for opportunities to live beyond ourselves!
How are you looking for opportunities to use your God-given gifts and experiences to live beyond yourself?
#3 // Living beyond yourself means MEETING people where they are!
I can’t stress enough the importance of being the church – of doing life and ministry on purpose, with a purpose, for His purpose! What this means is that we cannot simply settle for opening our doors up on Sunday or some night of the week for programs and expect people to come in droves. We just can’t! And that’s not at all what Jesus modeled for us nor was it the practice of the early church.
Instead, we have to begin to identify where people are at and start creating opportunities to meet them there. Living beyond ourselves means taking to the streets of our community and sharing the love of Jesus through how we live our lives and how we’re applying the gifts that God has give us. Living beyond ourselves means meeting people where they’re at, investing in their lives, and inviting them into our lives.
What are you doing to use your gifts by meeting people where they’re at?
Some final thoughts
If we want to Live It Up! in our faith, it comes with a price. We must recognize that we are called to live life beyond ourselves and start not only recognizing that we have something to give, but intentionally looking for opportunities to give and serve others. When we recognize our gifts and look for opportunities to use our gifts, we will start meeting people where they’re at and lives will be changed! God promises to redeem our gifts and use them for his glory, which carries eternal significance!
How are you living beyond yourself today?
To learn more about living beyond yourself, be sure to check out the video message from last Sunday!