I’m excited to introduce you to Margot Starbuck, a writer whose most recent book Small Things with Great Love explores the exciting, adventurous, and surprising ways God can use us to share his love with others. She’s got some great ideas and inspiration to share. Keep on reading . . .
Margot, can you tell my readers a bit about yourself?
Hi friends! I’m a communicator, living with my fam—husband and 3 kiddos—in Durham, North Carolina. In my free time I do exactly what I do in my work time: write. It really makes me that happy. I also like to paint & walk in the sunshine.
This month we’re looking at how “surprise” factors into our faith. When is a time recently when you’ve been surprised or delighted by God? Can you describe your experience?
Well . . . on most days I do not receive personal messages from the Almighty. (I’m Presbyterian.) BUT, about 7 or 8 years ago I heard God speaking directly to my hurting heart, saying, “I am for you.” It really was quite a pivotal moment for me. Since then, the message has grown to, “I am the One who is with you and for you.” Honestly, the clarity took me by surprise. They are the words I’m convinced that God is speaking not just to me, but to every heart.
I love your book Small Things with Great Love — and I especially appreciate the subtitle, Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor. Often — to be honest — serving others doesn’t seem like an “adventure” to me. I think it seems more like something important, something that is a bit of a duty (in a good way), something a bit scary and intimidating, and something that can be difficult to work into my everyday life. But your book looks at service from an entirely different angle. Why do you describe it as an adventure?
I guess I’m convinced that we have been invited to partner with Jesus in the building of the new kingdom. As we follow Jesus, I mean really follow him into the places he goes, we find ourselves in unlikely places among unlikely people. Just about every day I have the opportunity to either chill in my comfort zone or to embrace the adventure of trailing after that Jesus. The latter is life that really is life.
When and how did you begin to see service as an adventure?
Hmmm . . . I guess that my first year at Westmont College I saw peers who were living differently because they knew Christ. They were befriending homeless folks in Santa Barbara. They were serving alongside pastors and congregations in Mexico. They were fighting apartheid in South Africa. Young, energetic, I knew that following Jesus was meant to transform me and others.
This “adventure” mindset toward service suddenly opens up all sorts of surprising opportunities to serve and love others! Can you share some of the more “surprising” avenues of service you’ve come across?
Some of my favorites . . .
• my friend Hugh, who hangs out with homeless folks in Raleigh, NC
• a guy I met on an airplane who frequents thrift stores with his wife in order to meet, and bless, single mamas
• a beauty salon ministry in Thailand to prostitutes
• a local mom with a young baby who offers to take a recent Iraqi immigrant to the clinic
• my friends at Rutba House, in Durham, who open their dinner table to anyone who is hungry
No one can tell me that the Jesus-life is not an adventure!
How can we best see the surprising, adventurous opportunities to serve that God puts in our lives?
I’m convinced that when we ask God to open our eyes to a world in need, God DELIGHTS in doing it!
A few tips:
- Make it simple—loving your neighbor can be as easy as learning the name of the woman who rings up your groceries each week
- Be creative—if you spend all your time on the soccer field, or in a minivan, or at an office, ask God to show you new ways to bless folks there
- Be courageous—quite frankly, you can expect to be a little uncomfortable. It’s a good sign.
- Minister in community—there’s no need to be a Lone Ranger. Invite a new acquaintance to walk, or share coffee, with you and a friend.
Most important: God doesn’t ask you to do everything, just the next thing! This week, take one step, with Jesus, into the world he loves.
Thank you so much, Margot! Friends, be sure to pop on by Margot’s web site to learn more about her books and her ministry.