I felt like I was on the receiving end all day long. I went to bed last night with a full heart and an overwhelming love and gratitude for God and His family. Here’s a sample of what I got:
- A sermon that served as a reminder of God’s merciful grace and His presence in my life. It seemed tailor-made for me.
- Lots of warm hugs
- Some sisters specifically asked how I was doing with my boys leaving home. They hugged me and told me they were thinking about me.
- A couple of friends know of a confidential situation that is weighing on me. They took the time to listen and assured me of their prayers.
- A new Christian led a public prayer for the first time. It was heart-felt and beautiful. I was reminded of God’s power to transform lives. I was filled with joy and grinned all the way through the prayer.
- A couple of men responded to the invitation yesterday morning. Others went up to sit with them on the front row to offer support. I love that. It makes me feel good.
- Last night a godly, faithful widow responded to the invitation. She mentioned a specific sin she struggled with and asked for forgiveness and help to overcome it. I was so touched by her humility and courage. My love and respect for her grew even more. She went forward to ask for help but I wonder if she knows how much she helped me?
- The fellowship seemed to linger longer yesterday. We stood in the parking lot “forever” chatting. No one seemed in a hurry to head home. We talked about nothing overly significant…just flowers, school, our kids. On the way home I told Neal how dear it is to just share LIFE with so many fellow Christians.
The tone of this post is completely self-focused. And really, I left some things out that I was able to take away from yesterday. The focus of our coming together to worship shouldn’t be “what can I get out of this?” “Does it meet my needs?” We are to gather together to GIVE. We’re to bring our hearts to God (Matt. 15:8,9). We’re to bring our sacrificial offering (2 Cor. 9:7). We’re to encourage and exhort one another (Heb. 10:24,25). We’re to offer up praise (Acts 2:41-47). And yet, I couldn’t help but notice all that I GOT.
Yesterday wasn’t an isolated case. I always “get” when I gather with fellow Christians to worship and learn and grow. Even though my purpose and focus should be on bringing, giving, and offering, it’s amazing how I can leave with a heart so full of everything I have taken in. It reminds me of the saying, “You can’t out-give God” (Luke 6:38).
“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16).