When I was a Sophomore in high school, I went to Haiti on a mission trip with my youth group. It was an amazing life-changing experience! One of our projects was to help build a wooden gazebo. We needed to sand a ton of wood by hand, and we were working alongside other Haitian high school students.

Here’s what you need to know: As a freshman, I had taken a year of woodshop. Essentially, I was an expert woodworker. I was excited and ready for this project!

The sandpaper was passed out, but there wasn’t enough. Therefore, we were told to rip our piece in half and share it with someone who didn’t have any abrasive (that’s the industry term for sandpaper, in case you didn’t know). This sounds terrible: but I knew I couldn’t share. My piece was already too small, and if I were to make it smaller, I wouldn’t be able to sand effectively.

Once everyone got started, my youth pastor pulled me aside and asked, “Why didn’t you share your sandpaper?”

“Look at how small this is. If I give half of it away, I won’t be able to sand the wood.”

He smiled and said, “The point isn’t to finish the construction. The point is to work together with the Haitians.” I learned that people aren’t interruptions to our ministry, people are our ministry.

Immediately, I resonated with this—it felt like the light was turned on. This is actually who I am, I am naturally wired to put people before projects, but I didn’t discover that until I was positioned to hear what God wanted to teach me.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: there are some things God will only teach you while you are serving others.

Let’s end with a couple of questions:

If you are stuck in your spiritual life, is it time for you to find a simple way to serve others?

If you already are serving—either as a habit in your daily life and/or in a ministry team at your church—what has God been teaching you through your ministry?

God does awesome things through us to make an impact on the lives of other people. He also does amazing things in us, and we don’t want to miss out on how he is forming us to be more like Jesus.

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