Someone asked me recently (after about 5 months into being involved with Catalyst) where Julie (the CEO of Catalyst Ministries) attended church. And I didn’t know the answer. How surprising. How could I be involved in Catalyst for 5+ months and not know the answer to that question?
Did it matter? Maybe. But probably not.
I say probably not because this isn’t about Julie, and it sure isn’t about a specific church, and it definitely isn’t about me. It’s about Jesus and about a need.
(Side note: I feel like some of you are probably nodding your head in agreement at that last statement, so I think it is even more significant to talk about because if we’re being really honest with ourselves and with the church, I think we should also be in agreement that if we care about the same things, we should show up about the same things, and that’s not always happening. Insert conversation on Protestant and Catholic or Baptist and non-denominational, the list and conversation goes on and on…. Are you following where I’m going yet? :) )
For once, I caught a glimpse of Jesus and what truly mattered to him before anything else. And what matters to Him are the women in need that Catalyst serves. What matters to Him is making a difference in the Bloomington/Normal community. What matters to Him is responding to the call, the opportunity to serve. What matters to Him is pure and willing servant hearts within the body of Christ (note: the entire body, not a limb).
I knew the heart of Catalyst was reflective of Jesus because I sat across the table from Julie and heard story upon story about how God had provided. I know what the Bible says about loving your neighbor, binding the brokenhearted, strengthening the weak and liberating the captives. For once, I did not get caught up in asking about denominations and deciphering intentions (as if that’s ever a good idea in our sinful, human nature) and instead of asking questions derived out of human judgment, I sat in an inviting office space around a table with the main heartbeat behind Catalyst. I learned about needs and passions and how God continuously showed up to provide in very practical and unbelievable ways when things seemed impossible. And that was enough for me. And it should have been.
That should be enough for all of us.
I’ll paint you a picture why.
After struggling to find a heart for any type of volunteer efforts, as I shared in a previous blog post, I found myself heading to Catalyst Farms on a Saturday morning by myself. I set out that morning alone to go finish painting the new trim that was installed in the garage. At least I thought I was going to be there alone. Instead, to my surprise, I pulled up to a driveway overflowing with cars and a side street lined from side to side. What in the world was going on here that half the community CHOSE to show up on a Saturday morning instead of sleep in?
I’ll tell you. The body of Christ was going on there. The entire body. A variety of people, with a variety of skills, from a variety of churches but for one very important and powerful cause. And that’s enough for me. It should be enough for all of us.
As I made my way up to the house, I was amazed at all the activity going on. It was as army of God’s worker bees. There were people building a deck (which is not something most of them had ever done before). There were mothers and children tending to the gardens. There were people of all ages contributing in all kinds of ways. There was an electrician that was so excited to donate his time and expertise. I remember being so blown away by the passion of this guy as he stumbled deeper into the complexities that the garage electrical brought us. And trust me, it was complex. This all felt extremely contrary to typical life. When's the last time you saw someone be excited to figure out a problem that they weren’t getting paid for? As I was reminded recently, this is what the love of Christ looks like. It’s a ridiculous love. That day, every time I heard the hammer hit a nail as the deck was being built, I found my eyes filling up with tears. How did this simple sound move me so much? Here I was, a girl that never cared a dime to volunteer, anywhere, for anything, catching a glimpse of the true body of Christ at work for a common goal – to serve our community in a powerful and practical way. It was overwhelming. Why? Because I believe it was a true illustration of the heart of God. How unique to have a group of individuals from all over the community, come together for a need that is so precious to the Lord. With none of us knowing much about each other and with the very high chances that we all come from different places, with different reasons for being involved.
I didn’t know where these people chose to worship. I didn’t know where they worked. I didn’t know how they even found themselves there on that Saturday morning. Did it matter? Maybe. But probably not.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that God was pleased that day. And I am so thankful for the opportunity he provided for me to witness it. I wish there was more of this. I wish these moments for everyone, and I wish them more frequently.
I wonder what we would accomplish if we all came together more often in the name of Jesus. I wonder what the difference would be in our community. I wonder what the difference would be in the hearts and lives of those we are serving. I wonder what the difference would be in the hearts and lives of us.
Jesus saw a need, he filled it. He saw a desire, he fulfilled it. He saw a hurt, he healed it. I wonder what it would look like if we approached each other and the needs that are tender to the heart of God that way? I bet it would look a lot like a Saturday morning at Catalyst Farms.
Don’t believe me? Join me.
See, as a new volunteer, I’m learning that we give our time and talents but God gives us so much more in return. He gives us perspective. He gives us a greater capacity to love. He gives us the opportunity to see what He cares about most. And we could all use a little more of those things.
“Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10:17