I ran into a couple of friends last week whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. While catching up, we began talking about books we’ve been reading and Bible studies we’ve been doing. My eyes lit up when they talked about doing a particular Bible study at their church that I had done before and enjoyed.
I love doing Bible studies. I love writing Bible studies. I’m writing a new one in fact right now. But something in the midst of that conversation pricked my heart. It was a familiar prick, as God has been showing me this same thing over and over it seems.
Of the stacks of the tattered, marked-up, highlighted, and dog-eared Bible studies in my bookshelf, what do I have to show for it? Am I lifting my finger to do anything for the “least of these” or giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name?
Am I exercising any of what I’ve learned in these Bible studies?
Or do I just feast on Bible study after Bible study, wipe my mouth, and move on to the next meal?
Sunday School Discussion
This morning in Sunday School we had a riveting discussion on injustice. Since it is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we began talking about standing up against the injustice of innocent babies being aborted. I chimed in that I felt the answer to this injustice doesn’t lie in the preaching of morality but by ministering to those in poverty, those who come from fatherless homes, and other systemic situations which are the underlying cause of much of the abortions in our country.
It sounded good, and I believed every word. Still, as soon as the words escaped my mouth, my heart chided, but what are YOU doing about it, Jill?” Nothing. Nothing at all.
This unsettling in my heart began two years ago when God gripped my heart with Isaiah 58 and it hasn’t let up. But aside from writing a Bible study on Isaiah 58, I haven’t done much to put my feet to my faith.
I’m hoping that ends soon.
At the beginning of the year I began praying that God would show me where my family and I could “do.” Watching my children throw fits at not going to their preferred restaurant is only an outward indication of a heart condition – a me-first mindset. But what else did I expect? Aside from watching me serve in church and bring meals to people on occasion, what have we done – or what have they seen me do – for anyone?
I’m also fully aware that my children don’t hold the monopoly on this me-first mindset. I have my fits, too; they’re just well-hidden. But the heart condition is the same.
This has to change.
I asked my Missions Pastor to keep his eye open for any volunteer or ministry opportunity he came across that would allow us to volunteer as a family. I’m praying for God to show me exactly where we need to be. I don’t want “volunteering” to be another check on my righteous deeds checklist so I can feel better about myself and go back to life as normal.
My heart’s desire is truly to put feet to what I learn in Bible study. I don’t want to just become fat by consuming the Word like I consume everything else. God has made it clear in his Word how we are to serve and who we are to serve. (How could I have missed that all these years?)
I know that God has pricked my heart for a purpose. For now I’m resolving myself to pray that my eyes can see where he is leading me and my family to serve.
And if you find yourself at the same meal table as me, ready to exercise some of that good nourishment of Bible study, know that God is placing that unsettling in your heart for a reason. Pray for direction, and trust that he’ll give it. He’s an on-mission God and desires us to be willing to be on mission with him.