Living out an Open-Handed Life
Today’s reading: Matthew 6:21
We have spent the last week looking into what it means to live an open-handed life. What we have learned is that there is no straightforward answer. In fact, it’s really not something that we can check off a list; it’s more of the posture of our heart. When we live our whole life with open hands, we trust God’s direction and provision. We are saying:
God, I trust that you created me with a purpose and giftings. Teach me to use my spiritual gifts to live in a way that fulfills your purpose for my life.
God, I understand that serving others is serving you. Give me opportunities daily to be your hands and feet to the world around me. I trust that you will guide my steps.
God, I trust that you are my provider. Everything I have is yours. I will try my best to steward it well with the intent of honoring you with my finances and resources.
Trust looks different for everyone but as we learned in Day Two, we have a collective purpose to love God and our neighbors and to go make disciples. The best way to live this out is with open hands – trusting that God will give us opportunities in our areas of influence to use our giftings, to offer our time through serving, and to be generous with our resources.
This is where we see all of these rhythms we have been talking about throughout the past few weeks begin to work together. As we aim to live an open-handed life, it is important that we are spending time with the Lord daily through daily devotion, spending time in Scripture learning about his character and calling for our life, as well as spending time in prayer daily. This will allow us to: first, build a relationship with our heavenly Father in a way that teaches us to trust him; and secondly, prepare us to open our hearts and ears to hear what God is calling us to do.
Time invested in your relationship with God will help you identify areas in your life where you can begin stepping out of your comfort zone. Get started! Use the time, resources, spiritual gifts, and drive that God has given you to make disciples. It might feel scary or overwhelming at first, but don’t give up. It may not always be easy, but God will carry you through and make it completely worth your effort. Your joy for the Lord will start to build and spill over into all areas of your life (Nehemiah 8:10).
When we are joyful in all these things and find our true purpose, it’s more life-giving not just to those around us, but also to ourselves. Trusting that God can help you do all of this is key to living out an open-handed life.
Use the PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield) acronym to spend time in prayer.
How can you live an open-handed life this week?
What is the posture of your heart after this week toward serving, giving, and using your spiritual gifts? It’s ok to be honest!
ACTION STEP: come prepared to group with some ideas for a group serving experience.
Group Serving Experience
A great way to start living out an open-handed life is to serve together with your group. Talk among your group members about what burdens the hearts of everyone. Identify what gifts God has given to each person in the group. Find common ground among everyone to figure out ways to serve together.
Here are some examples of ideas to get your discussion started:
- Do some yard work for elderly people in your neighborhood.
- Pray with families in the waiting room or chapel of a hospital.
- Deliver some groceries to single moms in your community.
- Clean up litter at a local park or walking trail.
- Serve hot meals to homeless people somewhere near you.
- Play cards with residents of a nursing, assisted living, or group home.
- Host a parents night out for young families.
As a group, you have a unique opportunity to serve together. Think about how powerful it would be if every group chose something or someone specific they wanted to serve long-term; we could be so effective in caring for our community. As a group, once you have identified the needs you want to meet, set a goal to focus on them for an extended period of time and see how many relationships, powerful interactions, and personal growth opportunities come out of continued serving.
Be creative and listen to what God is saying to your group! The opportunities are endless.