by Kim Dingle
"I hear You call.
I am available.
I say yes Lord.
I am available.”
Many years ago my heavenly Father gave me a heart for worship and wooed me through praise. It’s no secret I love to worship. One of the biggest ways the Holy Spirit speaks to me is through worship. I often hear Him best through a praise song. So it is by divine design He introduced me to the Elevation Worship song “Available” over a year ago. Then He began continuously speaking the word “available” to me and over me. The reason I know it’s the Holy Spirit speaking that word is because I am a “recovering Martha” who desperately wants to be her sister Mary, sold out at His feet more and most. You may already be asking yourself, why does it matter what the Holy Spirit is telling her? I want you to know I believe with my whole heart that Jesus is calling each one of us to be available for His kingdom and His glory. He is inviting us to partner with Him in the Ministry of Availability (MOA).
Webster defines the word “available” as “present or ready for immediate use.”
The apostle, Paul, defines MOA in God’s Word as follows:
“do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
The Ministry of Availability is easy to describe but much harder to put into practice. First, be available for Jesus. Then, be available for others to whom He calls us. In other words, be still, then go! I truly believe the Father is inviting us into availability to bring Him glory. He desires for us to be vessels of hope and encouragement in a dark, depressed, disheartened, and desperate world.
The first step in MOA is to make ourselves available to Jesus. We have to invite Him to make room in our hearts, minds, and schedules to do whatever He wants to in and through us. I don’t know about you, but this is no small task for me. Even though I am in my third year of so-called “empty nesting,” I am still overcommitted, overscheduled, overworked, and often overwhelmed. Can any of you relate to the “over syndrome?” Historically, I have been a type A girl who plans and lives by a daily list with very little margin.
Martha has been my spirit animal for years, but over the last year I am desperately seeking to be more like Mary. Do you remember what happened in Luke 10:38-42 when Martha welcomed Jesus into her home? Her sister Mary made herself wholly available to her Savior and sat comfortably at His feet listening to His Word. But Martha was running ragged operating under the “over syndrome” and complaining about Mary’s laziness. Jesus responded lovingly and truthfully to Martha telling her she is “worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” And then Jesus dropped the mic!
Here’s the good news…Martha was one step away from being Mary and choosing the good part. She had a beautiful servant’s heart, but she just forgot to sit at her Savior’s feet first before she got up to serve. She missed out on the blessing of being present in His Presence. The Lord has been trying to teach me to sit with Him before I serve…and to empty me of me and get filled up with Him first and most. I am learning to be still before I go and know He is God and He is enough. Only then can I be content in every circumstance and willing to answer His call to be available.
Secondly, Jesus is calling us to be available to others. He does not just tell us how to be available to others in His Word. He shows us how to be available by coming down to earth and putting skin on and living a life full of selfless and sacrificial love. MOA is really just a call to love others like He loves us.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35 (NLT)
When we choose love over our list, people will see and hear our Savior. We are living proof of His LOVE.
One of the most beautiful MOA love stories is found in the book of Ruth. When there was famine in Bethlehem, a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi took their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, and moved to Moab. Then Elimelech died. Their two sons married Moabite women—one was named Orpah and the other was Ruth. They lived there about ten years, then both of Naomi’s sons died. Naomi heard the Lord was providing food again for His people in the land of Bethlehem. As she prepared to go back home, she turned to Orpah and Ruth and told them to go back to their family and find new husbands. Both daughters-in-law wept and protested, offering to return with Naomi to her people. But Naomi told them to go, because she had nothing to offer them. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth stayed and clung to Naomi. She made herself available and said…
Even when Naomi told Ruth to leave, Ruth chose to stay and make herself available to love. This kind of love is selfless, sacrificial, and straight from our Heavenly Father, who loved us first. We are called in 1 Peter 1:22b to “fervently love one another from the heart.” We show steadfast love by being available.
Love is the universal language of MOA and the action we are called to. We have to ask Holy Spirit to help us choose love over our list and people over our projects.
The Spirit is calling each one of us into moments of availability. He wants to use us to share a word of encouragement and build each other up. Encouragement is a gift from God. It does not cost us a thing, but it can be a game-changer for someone in need of the love and grace of Jesus.
Sometimes the Spirit calls us to be available to those we know and love. At other times He will call us to be available to those who are walking through a fiery trial we have already passed through. And then there are those times when we get the opportunity to bless and speak life into complete strangers. In every circumstance, we get the privilege to be Kingdom carriers in a world that is under attack by an enemy who wants nothing more than to rob, kill, steal, destroy, and tear us down.
Encouragement can come in many forms—texts, notes, phone calls, visits, meals, and hugs. Just praying for and speaking the Name of Jesus over someone is enough. Sometimes the Spirit calls us to just show up! When we choose to walk in the Spirit and have ears to hear what He is saying, He will show us who and how to encourage. The Father calls us to build each other up all over His Word.
“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Our Heavenly Father is calling us to be available to Him and to others. Availability will take sacrifice, but He is worthy of our worship.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1
Jesus modeled this kind of selfless and sacrificial love on the cross. He made Himself fully available to die for our sin so that we may live to follow Him.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
There is no greater sacrifice than for us to lay down our list and be available to love.
“For the One who gave me life nothing is a sacrifice. Use me how You want to God. Have your throne within my heart.” (Excerpt from Elevation Worship’s song “Available”)
Jesus, we love You. Oh, how we love You. Lord, we pray You will show us how to be fully available to You first and most and then to others—to sit then to serve for Your Kingdom and Your glory. Help us listen to the Holy Spirit and answer the call to be available. It’s our heart’s desire to be Your vessel of hope and encouragement. We pray Lord that You would give us eyes to see and ears to hear You call and to respond in faith as in Isaiah 6:8.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said, Here am I. Send me!”
Lord, help me be available. Show me who and how to encourage. Send me out to love for Your glory. We pray these things in the life-giving Name of Jesus. Amen.