Often I remind myself of the importance of speaking out and writing words, not because they’ve never been spoken or written before but because our saying or writing them may be the first time someone finally hears them.
I recently heard two simple sentences that had a deep impact on me, not because I’ve never heard anything like them but because I’m in a season where I needed to hear them now.
A few words Preston Yancey recently spoke came at just the right time for me, so right that when he said them, I had to block out everything that was happening around me until I could dig my phone out from the bottom of my purse, fumble with the notes app, and type frantically on the tiny phone keyboard these words, only partially remembered:
“You might not be Jesus in the story you’re telling. Maybe the person you’re with is meant to be Jesus to you.” Preston Yancey
I’ve been away for the past four days. While I was gone, John planted mums.
The house was empty when I pulled in to the driveway from my time away, struggled with the too-tight latch on the picket fence gate separating the cars from our back patio. As I pulled out the key to open the back door, I noticed fresh color near my feet to the left, looked over and saw the mums.
Even though they are small (and even though they are purple) I couldn’t stop the overwhelming sense of gratitude I had for him in that moment.
Planting mums isn’t on the top of the priority list, at least not in our house. Planting mums is something people who have margin do. Planting mums feels extravagant.
By planting mums, John was being Jesus to me. With this simple action, he reminded me of the importance of kneeling down on the altar of the earth, of putting something in the ground that has roots that will grow in the mysterious darkness, roots I can’t boss around.
When Preston said those words – maybe the person you’re with is meant to be Jesus to you – I had to write it down because it’s something I’ve been aware of in myself lately.
It’s a tendency (a bad one) to see myself as the ministering one and to see others as ones who need what I have to offer.
Maybe that’s a normal danger for those of us who write and sometimes speak. Or maybe it’s common to women or people who tend to take care of others. But those words make it sound more noble and less gross than what it really is. I think it’s probably a human thing, starting way back when the couple were told they couldn’t trust God and instead tried to become God themselves.
Preston was Jesus to me that afternoon. John was Jesus to me when I got home.
And so I’m looking for how Jesus wants to keep company with me through the words and hands of others. I’m realizing the importance of letting Him.Leave a Comment
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
Your words really resonated with me…I often see myself in the role of the one doing the ministering instead of the one being ministered to. I’m sure pride and control have something to do with it. But God, in his uncanny way, will turn that vision on its head if He has to in order for me to see that I desperately need to be ministered to. Often it comes from unlikely sources…a young child, a stranger, etc. I’m so thankful that I serve a God who will only let me “be God” for a short while until He intervenes. Now I look for who might be Jesus to me…
Also, thank you for the reminder that, as a writer, we think there are no new topics under the sun. In reality, as you pointed out, that our saying/writing them may be the first time someone has heard them or we present them in a new and timely light.
Great post this morning!
heather m. says
This is beautiful! It is so hard to let someone minister to us sometimes… I sprained my foot in the summer and it was only by a friend insisting that she was going to help me that I was able to let go and let her be Jesus to me. How we like to resist and think that we got this!
I absolutely love the truth in this and how It reminds us not to be arrogant. I am going to take the time today to reflect on the times in my life I have had someone be Jesus to me.
It reminds me of the day a man said to my husband , “Thank-you for being nice to me.”
A simple act of kindness was all that was needed.
Thank-you so much Emily,
I forgot to add how sweet that was of your husband to plant those mums for you and in fact they are the same color as mine.
Aliza Latta says
I get so caught up in thinking Jesus is shown only in extravagant ways. Thank you, Emily.
I loved this. A different perspective to how we can minister and serve God. It feels great to be the one helping others or being their Jesus. But I think this is a great way to remember to be thankful for what Jesus places in the hearts of others. To seek to find who or what your Jesus is today…what a great idea. Beautifully written. Thank you!
Anna Rendell says
“It’s a tendency (a bad one) to see myself as the ministering one and to see others as ones who need what I have to offer.” YES. This is my struggle too, and I’ve become all together too aware of it especially over the last few weeks. Thank you for so eloquently putting this into words, friend.
I have always been extremely independent and that’s not always a positive thing. There is an old worship song that goes something like this: “Won’t you let me be your servant? Let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too.” Sometimes we need to allow others to serve us and by allowing that to happen WE can bless THEM. This is a very timely reminder. Thanks!
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
This reminds me of how much we are all a part of the body of Christ in the things we do and how we bless others.
Lisa Brown says
Thanks so much for your commitment to write words. Your words have ministered to me in so many ways. I just finished reading your book – a million little ways and I have to tell you that through your words Jesus speaks to me. Its so wonderful to meet Jesus in your work. Thank You.
And your post is great!!! Its a great reminder to slow down and see what God is doing for me. When I give and give its hard to see what gifts are being offered to me. God loves us and He wants us to experience Jesus. This just makes me want to curl up on the couch and read a million little ways again.
Kate Carman says
What a beautiful piece, thank you for organizing and sharing your thoughts so well.
Holley Gerth says
So grateful for you and your words, friend.
Your post inspired me with truth. I love your book, Grace for the Good Girl.
Dana Butler says
Ummm… YES. Emily. (And Preston.) Yes. This is *the thing* Jesus is whispering in my gut. I am so convicted of my pride in thinking I have the stuff people need most of the time. I am learning to ask questions and shut up and receive. To be small in the presence of others (language I learned from someone wise that perpetually resonates inside me). Because Jesus wants to come to me *through them.* Through those who are “other.” Whether I consider myself “more mature” or “more healthy” or “more whatever the heck” or just radically different than they are. Ugh. Oh Jesus. Humble my heart to receive you through those you put before me.
Keeping this one with me. Good, much needed word. xoxo
Will tuck this away and take it with me. Good word.
Thank you, Emily!
This very second, I needed to read this. People may not even realize that the little things they do mean so much to another. I love that about God. The same God that made the stars and the mountains can use simple flowers to impact us in a powerful way. I pray that I may be that to someone else as so many others have been like Jesus towards me.
Kristen Strong says
Oh my yes…to every single word. Opening my eyes a little wider today to all the ways Jesus wants to keep company with me through others. xo
Dyana Bounds says
Absolutely LOVED this!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and powerful words of wisdom Emily! I feel God making me more and more aware of how others are being, or trying to be 😉 Jesus to me. I just need to let them! Blessings!
Kelly Grace says
So much conviction in just a few words! It’s my tendency to ‘think more highly of myself than I should’ that gets in the way of receiving the blessing God wants to bring into my life through others. Thanks for recognizing and sharing this gem.
Thank you! This is great to hear as I begin vacation as a mom!
Ashley M. says
“With this simple action, he reminded me of the importance of kneeling down on the altar of the earth, of putting something in the ground that has roots that will grow in the mysterious darkness, roots I can’t boss around.”
So deep (as usual, Emily 🙂 ) Thank you for your words today. I can especially relate to “roots I can’t boss around.” How I love to feel in control, but really when I let it all go and leave it in His Hands, real fruit can come forth. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings always!
Shannon @ Distracted by Prayer says
Your post reminds me of having someone wash my feet. Have you ever been a part of that kind of a church service? Or needing meals from the church because you’re too sick to cook for your family.
All of it is so humbling, yet Jesus-like. He did it first. He needed nothing, yet he allowed and welcomed the service of others. In my view, this is one of the most powerful parts of Christ’s testimony. He taught us balance out of the surplus of his character.
I haven’t seen it put that way before. Thank.you for the encouragement, especially in those first sentences. It was the thought that I had nothing really new to offer that stopped me following my heart on starting a blog for so long. I needed to hear those words.
Gina Moore says
My father-in-law told me once (because I resisted my in-laws paying for lunch or buying me unexpected gifts) that there is a grace in receiving. I understood what he meant and I let go of my prideful inability to receive their gifts. Over the years, it has been harder to let people help me do things, but I have learned to be gracious in receiving help as well.
Marian Vischer says
I remember him saying those words and I’m so glad you scrambled to write them down because I’d already forgotten. I needed to hear them again.
Ann Graham says
It brings us back to the place of humility doesn’t it? Realising that we need to receive as well as give. Thanks Emily.
Lori C. says
Wow! This piece really resonates with me. I am terrified of not being in control. I am the supporter, the doer, the encourager. But I get that “ants in the pants” feeling if I am in need or if someone is doing something for me. Yesterday, I drove a friend to an appointment about 45 minutes from our house. She was so grateful & offered to buy me lunch. No, you have to do that. She offered to put a little gas in my car. Of course not! Then after her appointment we went to a little store where she found these little Christmas dolls that she buys every year for her daughter. She wanted to buy me one but I insisted that she didn’t. Now, I after reading this, I realize that I thwarted her attempts to do something nice for me. I am going to be more open to that now.
Thank you for sharing Mr. Yancy’s words with us. They are taking root in my heart.
Very wonderfully said, thank you for digging in the bottom of your purse to write it down so you could remember and share 🙂
Ouch. Great post. Many times…I do see myself as the one ministering to others, when that might not even be the case. Or when it shouldn’t be the case. I have a hard time being on the receiving end, but like one of your commenters said, “there is a grace in receiving.”
This: “And so I’m looking for how Jesus wants to keep company with me through the words and hands of others. I’m realizing the importance of letting Him.”
This fresh, wonderful perspective is just what I needed this morning (along with my cup of coffee). Thank you for taking time to share.
‘Roots I can’t boss around’ – love that phrase. God’s in control.
I just really loved this, thank you so much. This article will be a keeper!
jill britz says
My closest friend is an atheist who is often Jesus to me. I’ve had well-intending Christians try to talk me away from her, but God won’t have it. How’s that for amazing grace?
Thank you for an ‘Aha!’ moment…you are so right. As a mother, writer, teacher…I am always seeking to be His hands and feet and words and thoughts, ministering…and what an eye-opener this morning…beautiful. Thank you so much! The pot of mums on our porch will be a sweet reminder of this teaching today! God bless you!!!
Lisa Fletcher says
Thank you for this moment God, were You gave me this time this morning to receive these words… Refreshment for me!
Emily – Your words are a gift and a precious reminder to keep my eyes open to receive all that He is pouring out around me! What a lavish gift giver our God is! God bless you today!
Thanks for sharing this. It is a very important lesson for us to heed.
Thank you for this reminder. There is something new here for me in these words:
“I think it’s probably a human thing, starting way back when the couple were told they couldn’t trust God and instead tried to become God themselves.”
These words are a challenge to all married couples and their family decisions. I never realized it before. Let’s not try to become God ourselves by leaving him out of our decisions on family life.