Extending Our Hands

Leslie Basham: Here's Sharon Jaynes.

Sharon Jaynes: The world is not looking for perfect people that live in perfect homes with perfect marriages and perfect children. What the world is looking for is someone to show them what genuine God-inspired love looks like.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Tuesday, July 12th. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: For the last several days we've been looking at several characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman--the virtuous woman, the excellent or noble woman. We've been talking with Sharon Jaynes who is the vice-president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, a ministry that is devoted to helping women develop the character and the heart and the spirit of the Lord Jesus in their homes and in their outreach to others.

Sharon, thank you so much for your ministry. Thank you for your love for the Lord, for your love for your husband and your son and for your love for other women that is calling you to make the kind of sacrifices that you are in ministry today. It's really been a joy to get to know you and have you on Revive Our Hearts.

Sharon Jaynes: Thank you. It's been great to be here.

Nancy: We've talked about 6 of the 7 principles that are the foundation for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and these come right out of Proverbs chapter 31. We come today to the seventh principle. Tell us what that principle is.

Sharon: Well Nancy, the seventh principle is that the Proverbs 31 woman shares the love of Christ by extending her hands to help with the needs in the community.

Nancy: So we're talking about a Proverbs 31 woman being a giver. She's not a taker; she's a giver. That to me is what comes through all this whole chapter of Proverbs 31. We look at all the things the woman can do. She's so busy. Her candle goes not out at night. She can cook; she can sew; she can clean, and she does all these incredible things. But that's not really what stands out about that woman. What stands out to me is that she's a giver.

Sharon: She is.

Nancy: She's a servant; she's a lover. She's wanting to share the love of Christ with those around her. Now there's one verse in Proverbs 31 that particularly I think says this principle well. It says that this woman, verse 20, "opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." Do you think that's talking about those who are just physically poor and needy? It certainly includes those, but what else might that include?

Sharon: I think that one thing that means for us today is the emotionally needy. Everywhere we look we see people that are emotionally needy. We can reach our hands and our hearts out to those people as well.

Nancy: And of course those who are spiritually needy. It's saying, "Get out of yourself and focus on ministering to the needs of others." That is really what we're talking about here.

Sharon: Now, I want to mention too that this is the seventh principle. We say these principles are important, but the order of the principles are also important. This is the last one. That doesn't mean it's not important; it all is important. But as we go back and look at the 7, the first thing that's the most important in this woman's life is her relationship with the Lord, and then her husband, then her children, then her home. And then finally we get to the seventh principle which is ministering to the people in the community.

I've seen women who have such a burden for the people in the community that they put that above their husband or above their children.

Nancy: So they're going around ministering to the needs of everyone else, but they're neglecting the ones who are closest to them.

Sharon: And a lot of this too I want to mention, for the woman who has small children at home and thinking, "How in the world can I minister to people in my community?"

Nancy: You're telling me I have to do one more thing?

Sharon: But you don't have to do that. We have many seasons in our lives, and it could be that the season of ministering to people in your community in a big way might not occur until your children have left the home.

Nancy: So it's important to seek the Lord and say, "Lord, in this season of my life, how do You want me to share the love of Christ by extending my hands and my heart out to minister to the needs of others?" That will look different-it looked different for you Sharon when your son was a toddler, when he was a teenager than it does now when he's out of your home.

Sharon: When he was little, Nancy, I spent a lot of time teaching children in church. That was my way of ministering in my community. He was little; I was in his world. When he went off to junior high, I thought, "Okay, I have more time now. He doesn't need me as much." That's when I became a counselor at a crisis pregnancy. It fit very well into his schedule.

He went off to senior high, and as he was preparing for that God was saying, "Okay,you know what? You've got more time now. I'm going to lead you into something different." That's when I started working with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Now he's gone off to college, He's taken me into a different season of life where I'm traveling more. I'm speaking more at conferences, doing more writing, ministering in a bigger way because I'm less needed at home.

But if I had felt like God was calling me to leave my family to minister to others, I'd have to question that call.

Nancy: Or at least whether it was the right season to fulfill that call.

Sharon: The right season.

Nancy: I've heard women say, "God has really put on my heart this vision, this mission to reach out here, to reach out there, to do this or do that." And yet they have children at home, a husband whose needs are not being met. Those women need to ask themselves, "Is this the season to fulfill that burden that God has put on my heart, or is He right now preparing me for something different down the road?"

I think women could look at women like us who are doing these kinds of more visible platform sorts of ministries and think, "I don't have those skills. I don't have those abilities. I could never do what you're doing." Can those women still fulfill this principle of sharing the love of Christ by extending their hands to help with the needs of the community?

Sharon: They can. I want to share something right here. I am the most unlikely candidate I could think of to be doing what I'm doing today. My degree in college was in dental hygiene.

Nancy: Well, mine was in piano performance, so join the club.

Sharon: But you know, I took math and science classes. I took one English class, and now God has me writing books. It doesn't make sense. But one thing I havecome to see is that God does not always call the qualified, but He always qualifies the called. So whatever God has put on your heart to do, whatever He has called you to do to minister to those in your community . . . . It might be your neighbor next door; it might be to travel. Whatever He's called you to do, He will equip you to do that.

I think that many times when God does call us, we sit back and go through our checklist. "Am I capable of doing this? Have I had the correct training to do this?"

Nancy: This sounds like Moses' conversation with God.

Sharon: Exactly. It does exactly.

Nancy: Lord, I don't speak so good.

Sharon: I don't speak so good. That happened with me after I first started doing radio and someone approached me about doing it. I had my list, but God says, "You know what? I do call the ones who the world would not call." We look at Moses' life like you mentioned. He couldn't speak; God called him to be a speaker.

We look at Gideon. He came to Gideon in the Bible to head up an army. Gideon was so terrified of his enemies that he was hiding in a wine press threshing wheat. You don't thresh wheat in a wine press. You do it out in an open field, but he was so scared he was hiding. And God came to him and said, "Oh valiant warrior."

Nancy: Right.

Sharon: I'm now thinking Gideon was probably looking around going, "Who, me? Are you talking to me?" You see God looks at us and sees who we can be when we are totally dependent on Him. He looks at each one of us as women. He knows what He wants us to do. He's got a call on our lives to minister in the community. He knows what we can do, the powers that we can have through the Holy Spirit when we totally depend on Him.

Nancy, I think of one example when I was praying about working with Proverbs 31 Ministries. I knew He was calling me to do something, but I had no idea the magnitude of what He was calling my next step to be. I had gone away, and I was praying about this. My husband and I had gone out to a restaurant one night. A long time ago we had taken some ballroom dance classes and learned how to do the little boxes called the foxtrot.

We walked into the restaurant with a small little dance floor and these four men playing instruments, and Steve wanted me to go up and see if we remembered the foxtrot in front of all these people. I said, "I don't want to go up there. Maybe if other people come and we can get where no one can see us, then I'll go. But I'm not going to go in front of everyone and embarrass myself." So I was thinking about me.

Then some other people came forward so we got in a place and we tried to remember the foxtrot where no one could see us. Then I saw another couple come forward, very confident, very self-assured, very happy. But Nancy, the difference was this man in the couple, he was about my age; he was in a wheelchair.

I watched as that wife held his hand and danced back and forth with her husband in that wheelchair. She danced around his chair, and she was happy and laughing. Then they played a slow song, and she pulled up a chair beside his wheelchair. They held each other in an embrace and swayed back and forth to the music. I looked around and the whole room was crying, tears streaming down their cheeks. I looked at the little band, tears streaming down their cheeks. I had to hide my face so they couldn't see the tears coming down my cheeks.

God spoke to my heart and said, "Sharon, I want you to look. Who moved that room to tears? Was it that first couple who came on the floor who had perfect steps and never missed a beat? Or was it the last couple who really had no steps at all, but the wife did it for him?" See Nancy, the world is not looking for perfect people that live in perfect homes with perfect marriages and perfect children. What the world is looking for is for someone to show them what genuine God-inspired love looks like. That's what moved that crowd that night.

Not that display of perfection with the first couple who came out and did a nice performance, but they were moved by that last couple. He had no steps, but she did it for him. God said, "You know what child of mine? If you obey Me and you take those first steps, I will do it for you just like that little wife did for her husband." That's where the power comes from.

Nancy: And God does choose the weak and the foolish and the despised and the inadequate. And I know that you and I have both, we've talked about the inadequacy that we feel to do what God has called us to do. I wake almost every morning with a strain of that little chorus going through my mind, the words to Jesus Loves Me that say "we are weak, but he is strong." It's out of our weakness; it's out of our inadequacy that His power and His strength is made known.

So seek the Lord. Ask him, "Lord, in this season of my life, how do you want me to reach out my hands to the poor and to the needy?" It may not be to start a ministry, to go traveling, or to do a radio program or write books. God may not have called you to do any of that.

But God may be calling you to, as you have done Sharon, to be a counselor in a crisis pregnancy center, to go get the training. There're women who've had an abortion and it's a part of your past that you're ashamed of, it's been a past failure. But God can use those past experiences when they have been repented of and when you've been made right and restored to the Lord.

Those past miseries and failures can actually be springboards for future and fruitful ministry. God may want to useyou to tell your story, to minister to the lives of young women who are making those kinds of choices today.

You may have a gift for hospitality or for cooking or for serving and God may use you in a soup kitchen or taking food to the woman across the street who's been in an accident and isn't able to get out of her home for a period of weeks. Ask God to open your eyes, to open your heart, to show you where the needs are--how you can love, who you can serve, who you can pray for, who you can encourage, how you can reach out your hands and your heart and reflect to your community to those that God has put around you the love of Jesus Christ.

Leslie Basham: Maybe you've thought of some ways you can reach out to the needy during this season of life. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Sharon Jaynes about the unique ways women can reach out to others who are in need. It's part of a whole series with Sharon Jaynes. She's covered 7 topics from Proverbs 31, and to hear the whole conversation, you can order it on CD. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Sharon Jaynes told us some of her passion for serving other people and at the same time didn't make a busy mom feel guilty for not adding one more thing to a full plate. She writes with that same kind of balance in her book, A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life. Again, order it at ReviveOurHearts.com

It can be hard for a mom of little ones to get out and do a lot of work serving others. We got some ideas today about ways she can still serve. Here's another one. Pray for Revive Our Hearts. We have some prayer requests listed at ReviveOurHearts.com and need friends like you to pray. Would you email us to tell us that you're praying.

Tomorrow, we'll hear from Nancy Stafford. She was a successful television actress, but something was missing. That's tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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