Get Over Yourself

May 7, 2019 | Lindsey Stevenson

Confession time: My name is Lindsey Stevenson and I have always been a pretty self-centered person. Growing up, I generally only associated with people who had something to offer me.

When looking for friends, it was important that my peers recognized my value and were attentive to my needs. Bonus points if they didn’t have their own needs or problems that I had to deal with! I lived a good portion of my life ignoring the larger problems and injustices around me and instead focused on my own small, insignificant inconveniences.

I started coming to The Vineyard shortly after college and quickly fell in love with the worship and teaching. One weekend, I can remember Pastor Mark speaking about how God calls us to care for others. His exact words were, “Newsflash, the world doesn’t revolve around you!” I laughed with everyone else and didn’t think much of it. Several weeks later, there was another message at The Vineyard about God’s individual mission for each of us. We were given post-it notes and told to ask God what His purpose was for our lives and write down what we heard. I was pretty excited because I was convinced that God had something super fun and important for me.

As I closed my eyes and asked God about my mission, I heard Him speak more clearly than I ever had, “Help those who can’t help themselves.” I quickly shook my head, hoping to clear away that silly request and listened again, hoping for a cooler, more interesting mission. Instead, I heard even louder, “Help those who can’t help themselves.” My immediate thought was, "What does that even mean? How would that benefit me?”

Ouch. Reality quickly set in — the world doesn’t revolve around ME. My purpose and mission in life have nothing to do with me — it’s about serving and caring for other people. I had spent so much time focusing on myself, I didn’t even know what it meant to care for others — but I knew I needed to figure it out.

Over the coming weeks and months, I took on any opportunity I could to serve others, from participating in outreach events to joining a couple of teams at the church. I started to realize that everywhere I looked, there were people in need and God had given ME gifts to help fill those needs. My skills were not just for me to keep to myself — they were for me to give away for the benefit of others. THAT is a pretty cool mission.

Fast forward a few years and I am now honored to serve The Vineyard as the Assistant Director of Outreach and Missions. It’s funny how God works, isn’t it? I now get to be part of coordinating events that serve the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) in our community and around the world. I often think about how unworthy I am of this opportunity after spending so many years focused on serving myself, but I’m so grateful for God’s grace and redemption.

Maybe you can relate to my story — if so, I would encourage you to look beyond your own wants and needs and ask God how you can serve others. To make it even easier, I have a few suggestions for you:

#1. Participate in an outreach event.

It was so important for me to see that there were people outside of my own little world (but in my own community!) that needed help. And God has given us the ability to meet those needs! How could we say no?!

There’s an awesome outreach coming up on May 18th that will serve a community in need right down the street from us! Check out the event and sign up by following this link!

#2. Join a team.

You don’t have to look far for opportunities to serve others! There are so many areas of need right at The Vineyard. Vineyard Kids, cleaning & maintenance, media & tech and SO MUCH MORE. There’s something for you no matter your skill set. Check out all the opportunities here!

#3. Open your eyes.

There are likely people all around you who could use some assistance. Maybe you know someone who recently had a death in the family — check on them. Take them a meal. Pray for them. Maybe there’s someone at work or school who seems to be disconnected or lost — invite them in. Have coffee with them. Bring them to church! God’s heart for His people is to be in community with others (Hebrews 10:24-25). When we are in community, we are supported in times of need!

Lindsey Stevenson is the Assistant Director of Outreach & Missions, she is responsible for assisting in planning and executing local and regional outreach ministries, helping to plan and participate in Vineyard mission trips, shepherding the Celebrate Recovery ministry, as well as helping to direct the catering team at The Vineyard Church.