Written by Brenda Hilligoss
For the last few weeks I have been thinking about not greeting at Life.Church. I thought that I wasn’t really helping God. I would no longer have to get up early on Sunday mornings, since I have some health problems and do not sleep well. I thought that they wouldn’t miss me. I kept praying about what I was thinking, but I could not decide what to do. God kept telling me that it didn’t matter what I thought or what others thought; I was doing this for Him. He kept telling me, but I certainly wasn’t looking for that answer. So, I kept praying, possibly, for Him to come around and just tell me what I was wanting to hear—that it was ok to hang up my hat for a bit.
I greet both on Sunday mornings and on Monday nights. I’ll be 69 by the time this issue is published. I’m retired and sometimes even bored, but still, I thought about taking a break. It’s funny how those thoughts creep in. I think Satan pokes around, looking for a bit of a cracked door, so that he can slip in and bust the door wide open. He’s just sneaky like that. If he can find our weaknesses, maybe a little bit of our self pity, or pounce on our desire to just take it easy, he will grab onto it and run with it. So, I just kept praying and hoping for “MY” answer.
Then just a few weeks ago, the church presented me with a medal and certificate for my service. March marked 5 years of greeting at the auditorium doors! I have greeted a lot of people in those 5 years. It was nice to stop and take note of how long I had been serving. But, still, you guessed it–I thought about taking a break. You might even say I was just longing for God to give it to me. When you want a certain answer from God, it’s amazing how long you will seek “His will” in prayer, when you aren’t hearing your own heart’s desire. Sometimes we don’t want His answer at all, because deep down we already have decided on our own answer.
However, that same Sunday morning, God decided He would give me one last chance to hear what He was saying about how He was using my choice to serve. As I was standing at the entrance to the auditorium, waiting to open the doors, a young man came up to me and asked me when the service started. He told me that he usually came at 10 a.m. but ended up missing that time this morning. As we talked, I told him of the various days and times of the services; he told me that this was only his 4th time having come to Life.Church.
We continued to talk for a little longer when my pastor, Isaiah, came out of the auditorium door. I told Isaiah how the young man was new, as he introduced himself. Then, the young man immediately told Isaiah how he had been wanting to raise his hand to receive Christ and salvation when he had been in the other services. I thought “Wow! Was he going to accept Christ as his savior right here at the door?” Isaiah, without hesitation, asked him if he would like to just do it now. The young man immediately responded “Yes!”
I bowed my head, as my pastor prayed for him, overwhelmed with emotion for the young man’s decision. Together with Isaiah’s guidance, they expressed in his prayer that he knew he was a sinner who needed God’s forgiveness. He also prayed that he understood Jesus had died on the cross for his sins and that he wanted to accept his payment and accepted Him as his Lord and Savior. When he looked up from the prayer, I was overcome with elation.
It was then I realized that volunteering to be a greeter on the Life.Church host team was such a blessing, not just for me, but for all those who wanted to help fill God’s Kingdom. It seemed so small before that moment. It was God that saved that young man’s soul. But, being at the door greeting allowed me to have a small part in welcoming another child to Jesus.
I think that’s exactly how God has it all planned out. He wants us to serve Him so that we can experience the joy I felt at that exact moment. It renews us. It gives us strength to continue on in whatever God has called us to do. After all, God is certainly big enough to reach the world without us. He said he would cause the rocks to cry out in our silence. But, He wanted us to share in the expansion of his kingdom for so many of the things that went into my heart that day. I was renewed. I was reminded how big God was. I was reminded I just needed to be faithful and He would use me. My own faith was strengthened and revived as I experienced this beautiful moment with this young man and Isaiah.
Sometimes you might not get to see how God is using you, but it helps to open our eyes a bit to realize that our small part plays into the bigger picture. Every soul being saved in our church has to enter through those doors—and it sure helps when someone is there to greet them. There are many ways we can volunteer in our church – greeting, waving, handing out invitations or even serving coffee. No matter how we are being used, no matter how small they may seem on some days, we are choosing to play a part in souls being saved for Christ. What a blessing and honor to serve, not just for your church or the staff, but for the Kingdom of God.
Needless to say, I stopped those prayers for my own will. God answered me with a resounding blessing. I am grateful to continue being a greeter! I can’t wait to see what God brings my way in the next 5 years with my invigorated purpose.
The young man had heard the following message of God’s love if you haven’t heard it before.
God loves all of us. He always has and always will. He loved us so much that He gave His only son for us. He says in John 3:16 (NLT) “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
See, we have all made mistakes. Some feel bigger. Some feel smaller. However, they are all called sin in God’s eyes. He says in Romans 3:23 (NLT) “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
Unfortunately, because we’ve all messed up, God can’t just overlook our sins. They actually carry consequences both on earth and eternally. God says in Romans 6:23 (NLT) ”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
He loved us so much that while we were still knee deep in our sins, He sent His son to die for us so that we could have eternal life through His son’s payment for our sins. He says in Romans 5:8 (NLT) “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
But, Jesus didn’t just die for our sins. It didn’t stop there. He was actually raised to life 3 days later just as the Bible had foretold. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT) says “…Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”
We can’t earn salvation. We are all offered God’s complete forgiveness and grace. We are offered His payment for our sins. An easy analogy is this: A son was speeding in his car. He was pulled over and given a ticket for his offense. He went to court to try to get out of his ticket. The judge asked if he had sped. He said “Yes. I did.” Then, the young man asked the judge if he might show him mercy and forgive the offense. The young man didn’t have enough money to pay his fine. So, as such, he would need to be put in jail. The judge, being a judge, was bound to uphold the law. So, he upheld the fine charged against the young man for his offense. Then, the judge took off his robe, stepped down from the bench, and paid the price for his child’s offense. You see, he was the young man’s father. That’s a tiny picture of what God did for us. Because He can’t ignore sin, He upheld the law, but then He sent His son to pay the penalty.
God will absolutely accept anyone no matter how big their offenses. He is both just (as the judge) and loving as the father, and He has already paid the price you can’t afford to pay. You can pray that prayer right where you are—but we’d urge you to get to your local church (or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help get you with a local church) for help in your journey as a new believer in Christ!
Senior Moments was contributed by Brenda Hilligoss. Brenda is a retired financial counselor, who enjoys her watching her grandkids, working in her yard, and her role as a greeter at church. She’s been a Christian since she was years old. She’s spent a lifetime pursuing a relationship with God and guiding her children and grandchildren towards a life in Christ. She promotes Community Spirit Magazine wherever she goes. She also happens to be the mom of one of the owners. (if she hasn’t already told you!)
Senior Moments, sponsored by Visiting Angels918.609.5600 Tulsa or 918.333.7400 Bartlesville visitingangels.com/greencountry