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Not Without You
by Justin Orr
Life Groups Associate | #20ThirtySomething Leader

I love old school BBQ. There is something about the sweet smokiness that just makes me happy. I am talking about the low and slow style, not the slap it on a grill and it’s done in ten minutes style. True barbeque requires low heat and a lot of time. There are no shortcuts to doing it properly. One of my favorite things about it is not actually the food but the preparation of the food itself. I have catered many events in my life, and one of the best moments is arriving really early in the morning before anyone else arrives. Most of the time it is still dark outside and sometimes a little chilly. This moment means all of my preparation and planning is about to be accomplished­–I had been strategic and thought ahead about the possibilities of what could go wrong and taken steps to brace for it, because from time to time it does happen. I had also envisioned the food itself in my head, tasted it and seen the final product and how it would turn out.

One morning in the recent past I happened to be at this very moment of stillness–the calm before the storm so to speak. There I was in my lawn chair sitting next to the fire box, listening to fire crack and pop as it warmed the BBQ to the correct temperature, and I noticed something I hadn’t thought much about in the past. My barbeque is a full trailer and needs to be connected to the vehicle to get to the destination. What caught my attention was the trailer hitch itself. This two thousand pound steel box was held to the hitch and pulled around by very sturdy steel construction. The hitch is mounted with several heavy-duty bolts to the frame of my vehicle. However, that was not what caught my attention. It was the hitch pin. The only thing securing the trailer to my vehicle was a two-inch steel pin, and that’s it. It seems a significant responsibility for this small piece of steel in comparison to the whole. However, it is the most crucial part.

There is no extra reinforcement, just this pin holding all that steel in place, and without it nothing happens. By that I mean I could not get the barbeque to the destination to execute the plan I had so carefully prepared. The wedding food would not be ready as planned. That one thing could have unravelled the whole event, and the truth was I had taken it for granted. It seemed insignificant in the big scheme of things. The menu and food preparation would be the things people talked about at the end of the day. Not the fact that a hitch pin saved the day and made all this possible.

Here is the truth of the matter. You are the hitch pin. Without you none of the plan happens. You may feel insignificant because, in the end, the work done by others will see the spotlight.  Similar to the hitch pin, you may feel your sacrifice goes unnoticed and unsung. However, please hear this, you are God’s plan to redeem the world. God has no Plan B. Can I get an amen? This is amazing to me because sometimes it seems like the role I play is small in the big picture.  But then God reminds me of the hitch pin, and I recognize the crucialness of suiting up and showing up to sacrifice and serve.

Here is the thing. We can have crystal clear clarity, or the best plan in the world, but without you saying yes and stepping in . . . guess what? Nothing happens. My heart is for you to understand how important you are in God’s plan. Several weeks ago, Pastor Craig spoke about the people of Israel bringing their gold, silver and goat hair as the offering for the tabernacle. His point was not about the amount of the sacrifice, but about the heart of the person bringing the sacrifice. Sometimes in my life the gift was gold because God had blessed me abundantly, and at other times it was goat hair. The enemy of our souls and the many in the world want us to compare our gift to others, and on the surface it makes sense. God doesn’t look at the surface–He examines the heart of a person. Mark 12:41-44 says this, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” Jesus not only celebrated the poor widow’s generosity but felt the need to brag about it to His disciples. The point here is about the willingness we have as the people of God to say yes and take action. It’s not about the size of the offering itself, so please don’t let comparison of others cloud what God has in store for you.

Are you in? I know my family and I have had several conversations about what that sacrifice will look like, and every time God moves our hearts to stretch and make a bigger sacrifice, trusting His provision. I am convinced God will bless us all in ridiculous ways as we say, “I won’t let this happen without me”. Remember you are God’s Plan A, and we can’t release generosity without you.


PRAYER & REFLECTION:

In what ways are you the “hitch pin” in this season? Take a moment of reflection and thank God for His presence and notice of your sacrifices.

How is God challenging you to step out in faith? In what ways will you say, “I won’t let this happen with out me”? Ask for the courage to take action in spite of doubts and fears. Thank Him for his steadfast faithfulness to you, because we can’t do this without Him.

Where does your heart have to shift so you can say yes and lean into God’s plan to redeem the world? Ask God in your prayer to reveal these to you and help you step into a new season with Him.