Every week for over a year, I have met with a small group of women from my church for a time of prayer. On a week morning we gathered together in our church’s counseling room, chair bumping into chair, and we shared one another’s burdens and we prayed for our church. We prayed for the lost. We praised our God. We wept together. We rejoiced when the pleas to God had been answered. It has been a huge blessing in my life.
But then I had to stop going.
The Lord began tugging at my heart with a burden for the shut-in of our church, for the sick, for the stragglers who visited, then were missing. I wanted to do something for them that would be helpful and practical. The Lord brought to my mind the thought of cooking or baking for these folks and periodically taking meals or treats for them to enjoy. But with an already full schedule, each day obligated to this or that, how would I ever accomplish this? I began to pray and seek God’s direction.
One day my husband and I went on a little afternoon excursion away from home. We had time to sit and talk and share our hearts. I poured out to him the burden God had given me, and the frustration of not knowing how I could serve others from my home and my kitchen when every day was so full. God gave him such wisdom and it was so clear to him as he said,
God has given you a burden to use your home to serve Him. You need to focus your ministry out of our house. You can pray in our home as well as at church. Ask others to join you, if they’d like. You all could pray and then cook together. It’s what you love to do, and God is the One who has placed that burden on your heart. Do it!
I felt as though a burden had been lifted off of me, and I knew at that moment that this was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do. But that meant that I could no longer attend the morning prayer meeting at church. My next thought was, “What will my friends think? It looks so unspiritual to stop going to prayer meeting!” But I knew that my not going to this morning prayer time was in obedience to what God was asking me to do. When I shared this with my prayer group, they rejoiced with me, as I should have known they would!
It’s so easy to think that I have to do it all. It’s easy to put the guilt on myself and worry about what others will think if my obedience looks like disobedience. But God’s Word says~
The fear of man brings a snare. Proverbs 29:25
I could’ve let my fear keep me at our weekly prayer time (not a bad thing) but I would have missed out on the blessing that this step of obedience has brought! From the very first morning when I began this new cooking ministry, I had absolute peace that I was obeying God! My heart was filled with the joy God gives AFTER we obey. We want it before the obedience, don’t we? After all, it would make it a little easier! But no, we obey, then God gives joy!
It was truly hard to say “No” to that weekly prayer time in order that I could say “Yes” to this burden of baking, cooking and visiting our church folk. Another wonderful thing is that some of the ladies have been able to join me. We stop and pray for each person we’re taking a meal to. We cook and stir up delicious food, and then we deliver it. It has been wonderful…even if it did start out looking like disobedience!
Do you ever feel like you’re responsible for doing it all? There’s freedom in listening to God’s directives and obeying Him. He gave us gifts to use that will never be contrary to His Word. Are you serving Him in obedience? There’s no greater joy!