He told a story about a woman who had once written a letter to the Reverend Billy Graham, expressing frustration to him that she too felt called to preach the Gospel but that she couldn't seem to find the time because she had twelve children. Reverend Graham responded by writing back to tell this woman that A) He was excited to hear that she felt called to preach and B) Apparently, he wrote, God was excited too because He's given you a "built-in" congregation!)
Now, at first glance, that might seem like nothing more than a pretty funny "large family" joke.
However, upon reflection one can see that Reverend Graham was imparting some of his great insight and wisdom to this lady and that is what our priest was sharing with us as he relayed the story.
"Serve where you are!" our pastor exclaimed. This woman was missing out on the ability and opportunity she had already been given, that which had already been provided for her by the One Who had called her in the first place...she was missing it because she was trying to make it something it wasn't meant to be. The woman writing the letter thought that in order to preach God's word to others, she had to "go out amongst the crowds and multitudes of people"...she wasn't satisfied with the "congregation" that God has chosen to give her right under her own roof!
In our beautiful Catholic faith, the family is often referred to as "The Domestic Church".
This thinking is in-line with what the Reverend Billy Graham was trying to illustrate to the woman. He used a bit of humor, yes, but this doesn't lessen the gravity or the significance of the message he was trying to send!
My own pastor echoed this message. He said that often people keep themselves from reaching out, from lending a hand, from offering service because they think, for some reason, that they must do "BIG things" or that they must commit to lengthy meetings or regular attendance on committees and boards; when in fact, all that is really necessary is that we "Serve where we are"!
We must give to those whose paths cross ours on any given day...even when we encounter no one else but our own family members. We must "preach the Gospel" to the congregation before us...at home, in line at the grocery store, or at a rest stop as we travel along the way.
Being WILLING to serve is more important that HOW we carry out that service...any service and ALL service that is done with a pure intent of heart (and so that the fruits of which can bring glory to God) is GOOD service.
Moms at home...don't ever feel that you are falling short in your mission to "preach the Gospel".
Don't ever feel that you must forsake the duties at-hand in your own home by rushing off to meetings and gatherings and socially-conscious events (those things have a place and are worthwhile in themselves IF your state-in-life allows you to take part without causing undue stress to your growing family).
Your "congregation" and your "ministry" is right at your feet each day when you arise.
It is no-less important than the many worthwhile organizations and institutions set up to help the needy or the hungry or those in crisis pregnancies.
RAISING YOUR FAMILY is a godly, holy, sacred, and IMPORTANT mission in Christ.
Living a godly life IS preaching the Gospel because you are witnessing to the world that there is JOY, TRUTH, HOPE, and BLESSING in His promises!
Let us each take the Reverend Billy Graham's words (and those of my pastor) to heart this week. Let us find ways to preach the Gospel in whatever circumstance or walk of life we are in at the moment. Let us remember that we needn't look any further than where ever God has us RIGHT NOW to share His love, teach others about Him, and preach His Word by living HIS WAY.
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich
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