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Through Your Hands – Part 3
Through the posts in this series, Through Your Hands, we have looked at some stories in the Bible of God working through people to perform miracles and provide blessings.
In the story from Acts 3, Peter extended his hand to a man who had been lame from birth and raised him up, and immediately the man walked and jumped and praised God. The miracle passed through Peter’s hand.
In the story from the book of Matthew 14, the disciples of Jesus started distributing five loaves and two fish that Jesus had blessed and given to them to pass out to a hungry crowd. They ended up feeding over 5,000 people, with the miracle passing right through their hands, literally.
We can see that God has always used people to get much of His work, purposes, healing, and provision accomplished. In the previous two posts, I have been asking you to pray about who, when, and how God can be asking you to do the same.
Faith In Action
Is there someone that comes to mind who God wants you to help?
What action could God be waiting for YOU to take so that His good purposes can pass through your hands?
In this post, I want to focus on allowing God to serve others through your hands by putting your faith into practical action. Jesus loved, served, and encouraged. So should we. As Jesus did, we need to serve and encourage others with a heart of love, expecting nothing in return.
Here are some ways God can work through your hands in your everyday life.
Through Your Hands: Listening
God can work through you when you are a great listener. Think about the last time you spent time with a friend or family member. Were you trying to give or get from the meeting? Spend time this week encouraging others by being a good listener. Look for an opportunity to encourage someone through listening, without wanting anything in return.
Many of us are eager to tell others our problems, get advice, and fix other people’s situations. There is nothing wrong with those activities. However, if we don’t decide to intentionally and actively listen, then we probably won’t listen well. When we do listen actively, we position ourselves to connect with people at a deeper level with more compassion, which allows us to serve people as God leads us.
The next time you set a time to meet with someone, focus on listening. I guarantee you will be blessed if you do!
Through Your Hands: Look For The Need
A big key to allowing God to work through you is in recognizing the need. Listening to God and others is part of discerning the need. Take the focus off yourself. God shows you what needs to be done if you trust Him and spend time with Him.
Simply be aware. Be looking for a need to be met. Expect to see it; then meet it.
Through Your Hands: Relationships
We have many opportunities to help others by sharing what we have learned in our walk with God. Regardless of where we are on the journey, there is someone who needs to benefit from where you are right now in your journey. God can work through our hands as mentors, friends, and parents. It is most effective if we do it intentionally and actively.
Mentoring and Friendships
I like to help others through writing, but my greatest joy is helping people one-on-one. Several years ago, I began intentional meetings with people that (1) I mentor, (2) mentor me, and (3) have a balance each way. I have one or two friends in each category. We meet regularly to talk and listen to each other openly. We share our struggles, pass no judgment, and nothing is off-limits. We are there to learn, teach, and share “real-life stuff.”
If you are not in any intentional mentoring relationships as a giver, start now. Some of the most significant fruit comes from these types of relationships.
Your home is a primary mission field and place where God can work through you. Your influence with your children isn’t only to love and discipline; it’s to lead them spiritually. Resist the temptation to focus all of your missional efforts outside your home. You are a disciple of God and can lead those in your family to be the same. After all, disciple is in the word discipline.
As God works through your hands in the various old and new relationships in your life, remember to do the following:
Build up instead of tear down
Encourage instead of discourage
Love instead of hate
Accept instead of reject
Give instead of take
Through Your Hands: Our Time, Talent, and Resources
This is simple. We don’t need to over-complicate it. Answer these practical questions, then prayerfully consider how God may be able to work through your hands.
- Where are some places you “naturally are” every week that give you an opportunity to serve others, if you just look for the need?
- What are some things you are good at?
- When are some times during the week you can create some flexibility to serve?
Through Your Hands: A Modern Example
Here is one example of how simple this can be.
Someone I know lives in an area where it is common to see homeless people asking for help at the end of freeway exit ramps. My friend usually keeps some store-bought snacks in the car to share with them. Since it gets cold in the winters in this area, my friend decided to buy a few pairs of nice gloves at the local store and kept them in her car.
After a day or so, she was being more intentional about finding a need, but as she saw various people already having gloves, she simply kept looking.
As she pulled up and saw about the third person this particular day, she saw they had gloves already, so she handed him a snack from her car instead. As she did, her hand made contact with his glove, and she realized the gloves he had on were soaking wet. She quickly reached over for a pair of the new, dry gloves on her seat and passed them through her hands to his. He quickly put them on, smiling ear-to-ear, thanking her over and over. She will never forget his look of joy.
You may be thinking that is something anyone can do, not just a Christian, and you are right. But even if someone is not a Christian, does that mean God is not moving through them? Anyway, in this case, this person is Christian and one that prays to God very frequently about how they can serve and be used by God, and this was what came up this particular time. She has a heart for service that is connected to God, and she takes action so God can work through her.
Although the man wasn’t necessarily healed from an illness or given a home that night, it is very possible that God still worked His purposes and a miracle of hope and joy through this simple exchange—through her hands. She prayerfully prepared for and looked for a need, and met it with action.
Through Your Hands: It’s Your Turn
In Acts 3 (see Through Your Hands-Part 1) Peter and John probably didn’t get up that morning expecting to see a man who couldn’t walk, extend a hand to him, and see him get up and walk and praise God. They may not have expected to also share the man’s story with others to see thousands of people come to Christ. Their faith in God got stronger.
Jesus’ disciples did not expect to feed over 5,000 people at the moment Jesus was blessing five loaves and two fish, but that’s what happened when the miracle passed through their hands to the people (see Through Your Hands-Part 2). Their faith in God grew.
You, too, are part of God’s story. Your faith can grow and get stronger when you let God work through your hands.
Maybe you have received miracles or blessings from God through the hands of others.
Maybe others need to receive miracles or blessings from God…THROUGH YOUR HANDS.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.