One of the most impactful things that has happened in my life, was when my middle school youth pastor, Marshall, brought me into his office and told me I was a unique kid that was going to do great things. After that he brought me with him to a low-income school on the south side of Greensboro. The school was filled with kids who came from broken homes, newly immigrated to America, and were in a rough side of town. We set up a mini carnival for them, playing games and handing out candy. The smiles from the kids gave me a hope for the future. I was an awkward middle schooler who loved comic books and had anger issues. I was given a chance to reach out to young kids who needed help, they needed the love of Christ. I was able to give that to them in the form of fun childish games. I felt like I wasn’t going to amount to anything, but Marshall empowered my dream to be a hero to others like I read in those comic books. Marshall spoke life into me.
It was a small act, there was no big show about it. Simply me in an office at the church where my mom worked, and I was feeling down (as many middle schoolers do), but Marshall saw more in me. He didn’t let that pass, he decided to speak into that. In a world where it’s a shark eat shark world, it can be difficult to understand the power in fast-forwarding someone else’s dream. It means that we might not get the glory. It means we may have to give up some control, it may mean we take a chance on someone, but it will be so worth it. It’s the thing Jesus did. He gave his disciples control, he commissioned them and it was up to them to figure out what the church would look like. That’s what happens when we enter a relationship with Christ. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and he guides us to do things that aren’t normal. Things like putting others first, and taking a step back from the spotlight. What I want to do today, is continue with the concept of being for our neighbors; being for people. I want to talk about the importance that comes when we empower someone else. When we empower someone else, we changed countless lives in the process.
Your generosity creates opportunity for someone else.
The truth is, you don’t have to do any of this. You can live life without empowering other people, and your life will be fine, it just won’t be great. As a follower of Christ, I don’t think we have been called to live lives that are just “fine.” I believe we have been called to more than that. I believe we have been called to live great lives. This means we have to be generous, we have to be willing to invest in others. This could mean financially, but I think there’s more to it than that. I think God wants us to start a party for someone else. I think we need to be willing to invest time, to be willing to listen and hear what people are saying. Then I believe we need to act. We have to listen and if someone has a dream, and we have a key to helping them get there, we need to unlock the door. Just like Marshall did in my life, I was a kid who wanted to do more, to be a hero, and still does, and I had a door unlocked for me. That was a simple gesture, but it changed the course of my life. Does that mean we give up control? Yup. Refusing to give up control is greed, and greed poisons us from the inside.
This means we have to be willing to let go. It means that we may have to give actual control to another person, even when you think you can do it better. Even when something may not be perfect. We cannot limit the potential another person is waiting to show. Be generous and create an opportunity for someone else.
Your personal faith is increased when you empower someone else.
Much of what I’m talking about today stems from the scripture in Ephesians 4:11-13 which says, “So Christ himself gave the gift of the apostles to the church. He gave the prophets and those who preach the good news. And he also gave the pastors and teachers as a gift to the church. He gave all these people so that they might prepare God’s people to serve. Then the body of Christ will be built up. That will continue until we all become one in the faith. We will also become one in the knowledge of God’s Son. Then we will be grown up in the faith. We will receive everything that Christ has for us.” What this shows is that Christ has empowered us as believers to empower the people around us. It actually increases our own walk to help others in their walk. So, why not do it all the time? Why not increase someone else’s potential? Why not encourage the people in your life to pursue their calling? Why not humble yourself and push someone else into the spotlight? Why not?
God has called us to great things, he has equipped us to share the gospel and reach out to our neighbors. We can’t simply live in a bubble. This happens often in the church, we become comfortable in the church circles, and we forget to reach out to the people who don’t know how to get to freedom. You see the church has broken people, but they have been exposed to the one who gives freedom. There are broken people all around us that have no idea how to get free and become whole. We need to empower these people. We need to empower believers to step into their potential and we need to empower the lost people around us to find hope.
I will never forget sitting in Marshall’s office. I was hurting and angry and felt so very alone. I was waiting for an opportunity, but I felt like it would never come. I was sitting in Marshall’s office and he spoke life into me, he empowered my dream of helping others. My dream of reaching out to help hurting people, and he opened a door for me. The Holy Spirit lives in us when we have a relationship with Christ, and it causes us to do things that aren’t normal. When we listen to the Spirit, we give generously when others normally hold on to the things in life. The Spirit helps us reach out to that coworker in need when we don’t have to really reach out. The Spirit helps us take a step back and put someone else in the spotlight. These are things that aren’t normal, they are things that don’t let us live lives that are simply “fine.” This is what makes our lives great.
Live into what the Spirit has called us into and empower someone else’s dream.