Stuff to get you thinking, praying and acting... 

Give and gather

By Imy Burgoyne

God uses us, as young people, to give and gather with love. Whilst working at Soul Survivor over the summer, I was really inspired by the way God uses young people to reach out to those around us with creativity and energy.

God has a plan for each one of us, and that plan starts from the moment we are born, meaning He is using us even if it seems like everyone else is looking at you like you’re too young. You, no matter what age you are at the moment, can make a massive difference: by serving and giving to others, by working to build his Kingdom here, and by being a light which leads your friends to God.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”
Matthew 5:16

The ability to serve and give to others is a gift given to us by God, so that we may bless those around us and provide for them in their journeys with Him. In John we see how a little boy gave up his lunch in a selfless act of faith, and with it, Jesus nourished over 5000 people. God will use us as we are, and use whatever we have, and he uses that to feed others. For us that might mean we give up some of our time, our resources or even our character.

When we serve others, our work can be a light in our friend’s lives which shines and leads them to the love of God. By witnessing what we are willing to give to God and to his people, as He gave up His only son (John 3:16), our friends will see our commitment and belief in a God who would never fails us or forget us. This might be their first step in welcoming God into their own lives.

God also calls us to gather with love. In the Bible we see how God yearns to gather those who are lost; we see this in the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) and Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7). As Christians we too are sent to gather; we are sent to teach our friends about Jesus and through our actions guide them towards Him. I was working on the Open Doors stand at Soul Survivor and one girl really impressed me. She’d come to find out about what Open Doors does, and she ended up taking away sheets of the One Million Voices’ petition. She came back a few days later with pages full of signatures from her youth group. Not only was she speaking out for our persecuted family and shaping her friends’ prayers with information, she was gathering voices to speak out for those who are persecuted. We have been gifted with the ability to help see God’s kingdom grow on earth, by gathering fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and gathering resources to build a society centered in God’s love.

God uses young people. He has a plan for us from the very start

And of course, God provides us with what we need to give and gather; gifts and characteristics that help us reach out to others. He gives us creativity and ideas for sharing with our friends, he can be our source of strength and courage when speaking to others, and he also provides us with help; his Holy Spirit is sent to be a servant to us, just as other Christians in our life can guide us and support us in our work for him.

The most important thing is that we give and gather with love. Question the motivation behind your actions; is it to advertise and promote yourself, or is it to do God’s work? In all you do, do it as Christ did, with love; “A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).

Be compassionate and sensitive as you share about Christ, be a listening ear to friends’ questions and worries, and as you gather treat others with love and thankfulness always.

God uses young people. He has a plan for us from the very start, and provides for us to give to others and gather for His kingdom, and has created the model for doing so: in love.

The Author
Imy has been temping at Open Doors for the past few summers and the rest of the year studies at the University of Birmingham. She is studying for a degree in French, German and Russian, and is also involved with student work at her church and CU in Birmingham.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.