By Contributing Writer, Stephani
Our Great Need
Gazing on the unending jewels of the gospel transforms the way I think about life, people, problems, and “growing up.”
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. –John 10:11
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13
In His incredible mercy, God perfectly met our greatest need by sending His Son. In coming and dying in the place of sinners, He solved our problems, carried our burdens, and secured victory.
Not only has He delivered those who believe in Christ, He has also transformed them. As new creations in Him, we are free! Free to serve one another in the likeness of Christ…
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Galatians 5:13-14
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. -Ephesians 5:2
Growing Up… Anticipatory Servanthood
As children, we were taught to obey commands and complete assigned tasks.
As adults, we should take this a step further. Not only should we address needs when asked to, but we should also be anticipating the needs of others and acting accordingly… Anticipatory Servanthood!
By God’s grace, our lives are to reflect very different desires than the rest of the world. We should ooze LOVE for GOD and LOVE for PEOPLE!
What does anticipatory servanthood look like?
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines ANTICIPATE : To foretaste or foresee; to have a previous view or impression of something future…
Anticipatory Servanthood doesn’t just happen… you have to pursue it – eyes wide open.
Young Mothers - Some of you reading this post may be graduated young women, serving the Lord while living at home. Have you considered how the Lord might use your mom’s wisdom to bless younger moms? You and your mom could work together to host a family for a daytime meal.
Think of creative ways to be an engaging, joyful caretaker of the children so that your mom has an opportunity to fellowship with and encourage this younger mom. This is burden-bearing ministry!
Someday you may be that young mom: overwhelmed, with a quiver-full of arrows, and hardly a moment to put your socks on. What a refreshing blessing this would be! Anticipate the needs of young moms and then serve with joy.
Watering Your Sisters - Can you recall seasons in life when emotions, desires, decisions, and spiritual questions led to anxiety in your heart? Do you have younger sisters who are wrestling with life issues right now? Wrestle with them to answer their questions, extend understanding when they are emotional, and be willing to listen.
Anticipate their need for fellowship from someone they can TRUST by going out for coffee, taking walks, praying, studying the Word, or choosing a book to read through. Look for opportunities to water the work of God in your sisters’ lives by anticipating their needs.
Supporting Your Dad – So many Dads work outside of the home, 40+ hours each week, and have a lot of responsibilities at home in the evenings and on weekends. You have an incredible opportunity to support your dad by anticipating his needs.
- When you can, greet him with a hug and a genuine smile after a long work day.
- Make an effort to help your family tidy the house before he arrives.
- Does he bring a packed lunch to work? Write uplifting, encouraging, thank you notes to him & tuck them in his lunch box… or use a permanent marker to write them on a banana!
- Go out of your way to show him you love him and are interested in his projects. Bring him a refreshing beverage as he works around the house. Stay for a while to hear how his project is going.
- Does your dad ever comment on tasks he wishes he had time for, things he would like to learn about, etc.? While he is at work, make time to accomplish some tasks he doesn’t have time for or research topics he is interested in.
- How often do your mom and dad have time together alone? Whether it be walking down the driveway, going out for dinner, or just talking in the kitchen, anticipate their need for quiet, refreshing time together. If you have little siblings, gather everyone together and go for a walk, take a trip to the park, or play a group game to free up time for your parents to enjoy each other’s company.
Daily Life – Over the last few years the Lord has given me a vivid picture of anticipatory servanthood in the life of one of my younger sisters…
- We have a lot of people living in a modest house. With people comes stuff! Knowing that regular organizational projects serve to keep our home running smoothly, my sister works in a variety of ways to enhance simplicity and order. Together with my mom, she has organized and de-cluttered nearly every room in our house! I see evidences of her service everywhere. This has created living spaces that are more conducive to family life, ministry, and joy!
- In the summer months, we host a various activities on our farm. Most of the hustle & bustle during these months takes place in our barn. Just a few weeks ago my sister jumped “head-over-heels” into a major barn cleaning, de-cluttering, organizational project. For numerous days she poured herself into the giant task of weeding out extra “stuff,” organizing our farm tools, burning unneeded lumber, sweeping, hauling donations to drop-off locations, etc. No one told her to dig into this project; she ANTICIPATED a ministry need and began addressing it with joy.
In the Church
Every believer in the Church faces insecurities, burdens, and struggles. I wonder how often we overlook the needs of those around us because we’re not looking. We’re not anticipating.
- Are there teenage girls at your Church? Every one of them is in a spiritual battle – for identity, for peace, for joy, for purpose. Come alongside them speaking truth. To those who are believers, cheer them on – “You Are Loved by Jesus… You Are Beautiful in Christ… Keep Fighting the Good Fight… Keep Rejoicing In the Hard Times… Keep On… Keep On… Keep On.” Anticipate their struggles and run alongside them.
- Several years ago I had an opportunity to go out for coffee with a young woman who was several years older than myself and lived in my area. She was passionately serving the Lord and we had similar interests. I had never met her prior to our “coffee meeting,” however this godly woman (in her early twenties) set me at ease, answered questions I had, walked with me around a beautiful lake, and asked how my relationship with the Lord was. Her genuine interest in my life greatly encouraged me… This is the kind of adulthood I want to emulate… I want to look into the faces of younger girls and anticipate their need for mentorship, friendship, and encouragement.
- Treasured Volunteers… Is your church striving to encourage believers by offering Bible studies, conferences, seminars, children’s ministries, etc.? These kinds of events require a LOT of behind the scenes work. Anticipate this need by willingly, diligently, and joyfully volunteering.
- Welcoming Visitors - If you have ever visited a church before, you know the uncomfortable feeling of walking into a room surrounded by strangers. Behind those new faces are people in need of a genuine, joyful welcome! Be a vessel of warmth and Christ-like love to these guests. Anticipate their uneasiness and ACT!
- Prayer – As the Lord opens your eyes to needs around you, press into prayer on behalf of your brothers and sisters in Christ. It can be easy to DO, DO, DO without acknowledging our sovereign God, seeking Him, and intentionally trusting Him. God is the only one who perfectly knows all things and is able to truly meet the needs of people. Anticipate your absolute NEED for God’s grace in fruitful service to others.
This list is far from exhaustive! We didn’t even touch on missions’ opportunities, community needs, health issues, extended family members, etc.. There are so many opportunities!
Will this generation of young women pursue mature adulthood in Christ by ANTICIPATING the needs of others? Will we keep our eyes wide open and act? Will we strive by God’s grace to build up the body of Christ in love?
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. -Galatians 6:2