The Next ‘Yes’ by Lara Price

This past Sunday, I continued in our sermon series “Pressing On—Growing in Godliness”. We focused on the passage of Scripture from Philippians 1:27 through 2:11. We talked about how God desires us to “Grow in Godliness” by: SEEKING UNITY within the Body of Christ, WALKING HUMBLY by valuing others more than ourselves, and PRACTICING SELF-SACRIFICE by putting other’s interests above our own.

I woke up this morning, pushed the button on the coffeemaker to begin brewing the coffee (thanks hubby for getting that ready last night), got out my book of matches and lit a candle, and pressed play to listen to the morning devotional from Lectio 365 (January 30, 2023) and watch the sunrise (well…I know it did rise, but I could only see the evidence of light through the clouds and fog). The devotional brought a little spotlight on the “self-sacrifice” piece of my message from yesterday. Let’s take a walk down memory lane…shall we?!

I was reminded of a trip that Mitch and I took to Cincinnati in 2007 shortly after our son, Zack, was born. We were headed there to meet his birth-mom and full-blooded biological brother. As we were driving, we listened to a message from Andy Stanley which talked about “do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” After listening to Andy’s message and after meeting this part of Zack’s bio-family face-to-face, Mitch and I looked at each other as we were driving away and said “We hear you, Lord. This is our ‘one’. Whatever plans you have for their lives, if you need us to be your hands & feet to help carry that out, we say ‘yes’.” Little did we know when we said ‘yes’, what that ‘yes’ would actually look like.

Part of that looked like, in 2011, us getting certified and approved as foster-to-adopt parents because Zack’s bio-siblings were placed in foster care. We felt like God had uniquely positioned us at an open doorway and He was asking us if we would be willing to provide them a home and a family if needed. We said ‘yes’ to being ready. While it wasn’t needed then, we found ourselves standing in another open doorway when our local child protective services agency asked “Well, since you’re not needed for Zack’s siblings right now, we do have children in our county that need foster families. Would you be willing?” Again, that meant being willing to open up our home to someone who didn’t have a safe home. That meant another person’s needs to care for. That meant saying ‘God, not what we want in our lives, but what you want.’ So we said ’Yes’ to Hailey. Then we said ’Yes’ to Lea & Cicily. Then we said ’Yes’ to EJ. Then we said ’Yes’ to Tez. We were continually being offered the opportunity put into practice this thing called self-sacrifice or to continue living life following our own desires.

Then it was the fall of 2018 and Mitch and I were being commissioned as the pastors of our church (another thing we said ‘yes’ to). A few weeks later we were asked by the county if we were wanting to renew our foster-to-adopt licensure. As we were saying ’yes’ to the call to shepherd the flock at our church, we felt the release to allow the door to close on that chapter of foster care. Then, about two weeks later, we had what we now call “a full-circle moment”. We got a call from Zack’s birth-mom and one of his brothers. They shared with us they were in a situation where they needed to flee for their safety. They wanted a new start at life and asked if we would be willing to help. We were reminded of that message from Andy Stanley “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone” and we found ourselves standing in another open doorway. The Lord had so graciously begun the work preparing our hearts for this moment 7 years ago when we heard that message…and because of that we were able to see Him ever so clearly in this doorway. And of course, we said ‘yes’. They called us on Wednesday and we picked them up that Saturday: Zack’s birth-mom, his full-blooded bio brother as well as his half-bio brother that had come along since our first meeting back in 2007. They lived with us for 5 months, until we could help mom get on her feet and get them moved into their own apartment.

All of these ‘yeses’…Were they what we had planned for our life? Were they easy? I think you know the answer. But going to the Cross wasn’t easy for Jesus either. And the Bible shows us it’s not what He would have chosen if His ‘fully human flesh’ got to choose (Luke 22:42-44). While our ‘yes’ and Jesus’ ‘yes’ to save the world from our sins are nowhere near on the same level, I think we can agree that both are examples of ‘self-sacrifice’.

What opportunities has the Lord given you for ’self-sacrifice’? What will be your next ‘yes’?

Let’s close today by reading the ‘Yielding Prayer’ from Lectio 365 today (January 30, 2023)…

Lord, I yield to Your best purpose for my life. May I never be side-tracked by the allure of comfort, but rather find fulfillment in making a difference in the lives of other people. Help me change someone’s life for the better today.

***To learn more about becoming a foster-to-adopt parent in Fairfield County, OH…

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