This week I have been reminded of what it really means to "Glorify the Lord in all you do."
We all go into situations with expectations. Whether they be high or low, we all have them. As our first week of summer mission trips in Washington, D.C. comes to a close, my eyes have been opened to what it looks like when reality doesn't always meet our expectations and how we can choose to still serve and proclaim God's love boldly.
This week, we had the privilege of being able to serve alongside a number of different community partners in D.C. and the surrounding areas. A lot of painting, organizing, and cleaning was done at several different Salvation Army Corps locations. We also volunteered at a number of food pantries, where volunteers stacked cans and cut food in preparation for serving people.
While at Prince George, we scrubbed a gym floor, cleaning off the scuff marks on it. Captain Lorenzo of the Salvation Army explained that this gym was used every weekend and certain days of the week for men who are a part of the substance abuse rehab program to come and play basketball. It was hard work scrubbing it, but as we did, I realized how beautiful this type of service was. We may never meet the men who play basketball there or meet the people who eat the food we cut up. But in the end, that doesn't matter. Above all, we are serving our Lord. This can be done in millions of different ways, like scrubbing a gym floor or cutting up carrots for three hours.
A verse that reminds me of this past week is 1 Peter 4:10-13, "Serve one another, each according to the gift he has received, as good stewards of the many forms of God’s grace. If anyone speaks, let him do it as one speaking the messages of God. If anyone serves, let him do it as one serving with the strength God supplies so that God may be glorified in every way through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever."
I think we often have a very limited view of what service and mission trips are supposed to look like. I know I do. It can be very easy to show up in a community and have a desire to be the ones directly serving people in need. But a lot of times service looks like going behind the scenes and helping out the people who run these beautiful organizations.
I'm so thankful that this week our incoming team of volunteers was able to experience both serving the people directly and doing the hard work behind the scenes.
Four of the high schoolers on the trip explained to us one night during our evening gathering how their eyes had been opened to the bigger picture of service. One day they spent all morning chopping food at an organization called D.C. Central Kitchen. The next day, the same group went and served breakfast at an organization called Thrive, a shelter that serves food and meets the needs of the homeless people in D.C. It just so happened that all the food they served at Thrive had come from D.C. Central Kitchen. This helped them to see the bigger picture of service, and how God is working in the little details too.
If no one was willing to do the harder work like cutting, cleaning, and organizing, the organization would not run the same. When it comes to service, we need to be willing to humble ourselves and do whatever is asked of us.
This is what we have been learning. Sometimes we will be right in the front, interacting with all the people. Other times we will be behind the scenes, helping others serve. Both are needed. Both are beautiful. Both glorify God.
Whether our expectations are met or not, we can choose to keep praising our God. When we have the joy of the Lord in us, everything we are doing is an act of worship to Him.
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You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.