Yesterday I spent over five hours with a Pastor I recently met. We had a 20-minute conversation at a basketball game and hoped for a more extended time together. After a couple of emails, the date and time were set for a meeting at the Church where I lead.
In those five hours, I told about the Church I lead, my personal experiences, thoughts I have about ministry, and encouragements I have seen along the way. Before we met, I prayed that God would give me the right words to say that would bless his life and ministry. My wife gave me advice on a few things I should say, including, “Be sure and tell him about your failures too.” I spoke as the Lord led, and my wife instructed. In the end, I felt the meeting went well, and our time together was profitable to him.
Here is the exciting thing to me; it was equally as beneficial to me. As I poured my life, heart, emotions into someone else, my soul was filled at the same time. His stories of how God had worked in his life encouraged me. His pain and struggles were things I could identify with and know I was not alone. His victories were not just his but also for the same Lord I serve. His leaps of faith inspired me to take more significant steps in my walk with Jesus.
Faith is never an individual endeavor. The moment you buy into the idea that faith is a personal thing, you have purchased a concept of a distorted self-centered religion where you are the only important individual. Faith includes sharing your life with other people. Sometimes that is with people close to you, and other times it is with people who seem more distant. In either case, as you pour out your life into others, you, in turn, are blessed in your soul. Quite often, you find out after experiences like this, the person who needed the community of faith the most was actually you.