Jeremiah 13:20 “…..Where is your flock-your beautiful flock-that He gave you to care for?”
In my previous life (the first half…LOL) I owned a petting zoo. Yes, I know. That’s quite a stretch from where I am now. I owned a big drafty hundred year old farm house with 40 acres. We raised sheep, goats, chickens, cows, and every other assorted kind of farm animal. We were always taking in strays or unwanted or unloved animals from other people. They would come to me often bruised and battered, scared, and broken in spirit. I think that perhaps this time of my life was to prepare me for where I am now. As the sheperd of a flock, I had to spend alot of time with my animals. I knew them all by name. I knew the sounds they made, the desires of their hearts, their mischievous nature. Each morning I would come into the barn and with the flick of a light switch, my little world would cometo life. There was lots of noise and talking and bickering over who would get to me first. When a new animal came into our farm world, they often hung back from the group. You could see they were trying to decide whether or not they would be accepted. They didn’t know where they belonged in the group nor what they should do to be a part of the structure of the barnyard. As each day passed, the broken and bruised became whole and happy. The scared became couragous and the broken spirit became brave. It was a wonderful transformation that I have missed very much over the last decade. My heart broke when I had to give up my farm. I still miss each and every little face that looked up at me every day. Yet I came to understand that it wasn’t what I did, what medicine I used, what food I fed them. It was the smile in my voice. The love in my touch. The willingness to put their needs first. (yes, all farm babies ARE born at 3 in the morning….must be some sort of God rule) There was no crowd watching me. No applause. No one seeing my efforts. Just my desire to see them whole again.
Right after I met God and joined the Fellowship of the Woodlands church, I volunteered for the greeting team. At first I was there every service. I couldn’t get enough greeting time. The first Christmas I volunteered for all 23 services. And worked every single one of them. Frozen, tired, hungry but it was one of the single most satisfying events of my life. These days I am more reasonable (yes dear) about my greeting times. I came to realize that if I greeted every service, I was depriving someone else of the opportunity to greet. So my place is the 11:30am service where I am what is commonly referred to as “a floater!” When someone is out for the day, I take their place. I must admit to some worldly whining in the beginning. I would come home and whine to my sweetheart and young daughter and anyone else who was within reach how I wasn’t appreciated nor was I cared about. Did they not know just who I was! Did they not see that I was super woman! By golly, they needed me! NOT! No really, in truth, they did need me. What they didn’t need was my attitude that I should be important. My attitude that I should be noticed. They needed me for a far more important job. They needed me to smile. From the heart. With God’s love in my eyes as I looked into their faces.
A smile is such a simple thing. A gift from one person to another. A token of your love and acceptance of that person. I think back to the broken animals who came into my life. They knew by the touch of my hand that I loved them. The Lord has taught me that people will know by the touch of my smile that I love them. Each sunday morning, no matter where I stand, I am there to share God’s love with everyone who comes past me. It’s not about me. It’s not about the nametag I wear. It’s about touching them with my smile so they can heal from their broken spirit. So they can know that even if it’s just for a moment, someone wants them to feel welcome. On the way to church this morning I heard a song by Don Moen. It is called “I Offer My Life”. I am including the lyrics at the end of the blog. That is where I am today. My life is now the Lord’s. Let me touch lives with a smile. Let me realize that it’s just that simple.
“I Offer My Life” by Dan Moen
All that I am, all that I have, I lay them down before you O Lord. All my regrets, all my aclaim, the joy and the pain, I’m making them Yours. Lord I offer my life to You. Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory. Lord I offer my days to You, lifting my praise to You. As a pleasing sacrifice, Lord I offer my life. Things in the past, things yet unseen. Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true, All of my hopes, all of my plans, My heart and my hands are lifted to You.