Jackie loves to invite people to the meetings for teen moms. Whenever I called to ask if she was able to come, she always responded, “Yes, Miss, and what car are you bringing?” Then she would invite enough people to fill the car; I insisted there not be more than one person per seat belt. We taxied her babies, sisters, neighbors and friends. One other leader watched us unloading and said, “Your car looks like a clown car; so many people come out of it.”
Our second year together, Jackie invited three new friends and their babies. I was glad to learn they had their own truck, since I didn’t have room for all of them. They loved the meetings, but admitted they didn’t understand the talks, since they were only beginning to learn English. I was learning Spanish using an app called Duolingo, and had purchased a Spanish Bible, so I over-confidently tried to lead one small group discussion in Span-glish. Our leader, Melissa, had a better idea. Before the next meeting she asked Yesinia to lead a Spanish table discussion, and asked Jackie to be her assistant. Yesinia came prepared with the discussion questions written out in her spiral bound notebook, along with related scripture references. We passed my Spanish Bible around so the girls could take turns reading the verses aloud. My role was to pray silently, to smile and nod, and to cuddle babies so the moms could participate. And they did. As Yesinia and Jackie led, the young women shared their struggles and longings, often with tears. And they prayed together.
The development of the Spanish table discussion group at the teen moms ministry meetings illustrates the way God designed the church to work: “now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” To Jackie was given through the Spirit the courage to invite friends to hear about Jesus; I understood the need to share the message in Spanish; to Melissa by the same Spirit was given the wisdom to ask native speakers to lead the Spanish table; and Yesinia was diligent to study God’s Word and to lead the discussion with transparency and kindness. “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”
Application: Dear friend, maybe you’re like me. When you notice something needs to be done; you jump right in and start doing it, whether you are good at it or not. Serving in a role that is out of your comfort zone might be self-sacrificial, but it also might mean you’re standing in the way of someone whom the Spirit has uniquely gifted for that role. One pastor wisely advised us, “A need does not constitute a call.” Weary friend, when you notice a need, I encourage you to pray first, to seek wise counsel, and to encourage the right person to meet that need, even if it is not you.
Reflection: How can you stop trying to do everything yourself, and begin to empower others to work in their areas of giftedness?