Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV): And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
This scripture tells us that we all have different gifts and “equipment” for use in the church, and for building up those around us, but we all must start somewhere. When the two of us recall the first steps in the life of our children, our experience was excitement and expectancy over when they would take that step. The reality is we have so great a dream for our children that far surpasses that first step taken as a young child. Likewise, God has plans for each of us that far surpass the first step that we each take in our spiritual journey.
When our children took their first steps, it happened to be Bill that was present when that first step occurred. What a bummer for Elaine when she was not able to be a personal witness to that step! Although she did not witness that step, her love for the children was unchanged. This leads us to the heart of steps along the spiritual journey that each person experiences. Just because one person witnesses the outward expression of another person’s next step does not discount the fact that there were countless others that had influence in that person’s life earlier in the journey. We are so trained to receive immediate gratification in our global society, we lose sight of the impact the seeds we are planting in others in our daily life through relationship and connections contains. God’s plan is that our work would be birthed from a heart of love and intimacy. Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We move forward, and we help others move forward in the spiritual journey, not because we seek approval or perks or rewards from God, but because knowing Him intimately compels us to love others and want to help them come to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference. We are not climbing a corporate ladder to heaven. Instead we are drawn to connect others to God, the one who first loved us.
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV): Where there is no vision, the people perish.
What is your vision? We are both leaders and followers at various points in our spiritual journey. The love of Christ is what moves us to lead others to fulfill the passion and dream that God has placed within them. Being witness to the fruit of our labor is not the goal, but instead being used by God to help others attend to His plan brings fulfillment. We are each called to make a difference in the lives of others, with those in our sphere of influence, while personally loving and growing closer to God.
What steps are you taking to move forward in a closer, more intimate relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
by Bill and Elaine Lang
Bill and Elaine have served the Lord together since 1983 and have been members of Kingsway Church since 2007. They have served in worship, life group, and mission team leadership. They have two married sons and an adult daughter, along with five grandchildren, and will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2020. They are avid readers and podcast listeners on all subjects related to the kingdom of God and His mission, with great passion to help people find and follow Jesus. Bill currently serves as a member of the Kingsway Church Board.