Jesus sat with his friends, enjoying a meal, conversation, maybe a little laughter. Suddenly, surprisingly, he did something no one in the room expected. He got up from the table, knelt on the floor and washed his friends’ filthy feet.
Imagine the scene. How would you have felt? What would you have thought?
Later, Jesus added words – powerful, perception altering words. Words that helped his friends understand the meaning of his actions. Words that corresponded with the service he’d given.
Would they have understood without the words? Or would they have internalized his intent without his action?
Every day Jesus-followers, normal people, pick up the basin and towel in a thousand different ways. We visit neighbors in hospitals, write checks to alleviate suffering, help children with homework, prepare meals for loved ones, carry boxes for friends, and more. Our small acts of service speak honest, generous truth. We reveal with our hands the character and purposes of God to those whom we serve.
In our actions, we say…
- You are important.
- God sees you.
- You are not alone.
- God loves you.
- God wants you to know his love and care for you.
- God wants to protect you, to guide you, to help you.
- …and more.
Sometimes, our friends and neighbors see our actions and recognize our love and care, but assume it is entirely our gift – an expression of our heart for them. When we add words, we help them understand, recognize the gifts we give as infused with the Spirit, the character and purposes of God whose love opens our hearts to share him with others. But how can we find the words to reveal the God who is loving others through us?
First, we see what God is revealing about himself…
- What aspects of his character is he showing our friends through our small act of service?
- What is the purpose or desires of God that’s he’s showing our friends as we help them?
Then, we add words…
There are many different kinds of words we can add.
- A testimony or story from our lives when we received similar revelations of God’s character and desire for us.
- A pray articulating the person and desires of the God we’re seeing.
- A statement, phrase or explanation of the truth of who God is revealing himself to be and do on our behalf.
- A Jesus story or other story from scripture that also shows us similar aspects of God’s purposes and character.
We pray for specific words…
We lean into the revealed presence and God. We ask him, what are you showing my friend about who you are and what you desire for her? What words can offer to help her see you through my small act of service? We ask trusting God to bring to our minds the words he would like us to share.
Finally, we share…
We share the words; a story, a prayer and few words of truth with our friend. We trust both our act of service and the words we add as gifts from God both for us and for our friend. We offer our words knowing that God is revealing himself as he wants to be seen and known.
Want to try it?
This free worksheet is designed to help you see and express Jesus’ character & purposes as
communicated through your specific ministry actions. You might find it helpful as you explore ways to find words that add understanding to the gifts of your service to others.
You can access this free resource here: The Jesus Story You Tell Through Your Actions.