Just a shift in perspective… WHAT a gift!
I am continuously amazed at just how much I receive back when I listen to my Father’s words. As an engineer, the thought of getting more out than you put into any system defies logic and proves problematic mathematically. And yet, doesn’t our Father do that in so many areas of our life? Create a miracle from the weeds in our life? The question is once we experience the miracle, are we mature enough to recognize our Savior as deserving of all the glory, or do we take all the credit for doing something wonderful through our own effort?
For the past several weeks, I’ve been serving alongside other men at the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore on Monday evenings. There, we’ve been working with a group of 60+ men from all walks of life who have been struggling with addictions of all kinds. These men desire a different life, but as with many things in life, change is slow. Often times for me, at least, I get frustrated with the change process, wanting the results in my own time and not God’s time. I had been more discouraged of late because I so wanted something, anything, to show that my presence on all those Monday evenings was worth it. So, I started to pray “God… please help me to know that what I’m doing matters…” and still nothing. Did God really hear what I was asking? Then, I began to think… if we ask God for patience, does He give us patience, or does He give us a chance to be patient? If we ask God for courage, would He give us courage, or would He give us opportunities to be courageous? If we want/need to know the worth of serving, would He offer us words of affirmation and good feelings inside, or would He offer us meaningful opportunities to serve in obedience to His word so we could truly experience the love He expressed to His disciples in John 13:1-17? Perhaps my perspective on the issue was a bit off… perhaps changing my perspective was part of where the answer could be found…
That night, my brothers and I served at Helping Up Mission by washing the feet of over 60 men. Next to the birth of my 2 girls, it had to have been one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to witness. It broke all of us… to be in a place to serve others just as Christ did to His disciples, broke us! To experience the divine nature manifested in God’s children (1 John 3:1-18); in their being like Christ (1 John 3:4-10); in loving my brother (1 John 3:11-18); that through practical obedience we can have reassurance and confidence (1 John 3:10-14); that answer to prayer depends on obedience (1 John 3:22). My heart was filled with such incredible joy and satisfaction that words do not do justice to the gift that I had been given that evening… that my perspective was off, and by changing my perspective away from being ME-centered to simply serving in obedience, I was able to honor my Lord and as a benefit, become filled with a love inside I had only read about up to that point, and I am so thankful!
The men of Helping Up Mission who participated in this event that night still speak of what happened in that small room. I know it was something I’ll never forget and continue to look for more opportunities to honor my Lord as I seek not to please myself, but rather to model my Lord who came to serve others through opportunities to love each other unconditionally in obedience (Ps. 78:7, Isa. 25:1-5). Men… for those of you who want to experience this amazing love, consider washing your wife or fiancé’s feet… what better way to express your love and to honor and respect her, to demonstrate a humility of the heart and character by kneeling in front of her, and to communicate to her that you will be there for her through not only the good, but through all the bad things of life. God is SO good!
Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)