The Blessings I have Received in Helping Out at the Community Pantry
by Frank Cosylion
I have been at Evergreen SGV for about 4 ½ years now. The first 18 months were very difficult for me. Because I found that over time, even though I was in the company of church members, I didn’t know them anymore than when I first came here. You see people on Sunday mornings, we worship God, hear a sermon, say hello and shake hands with people but that’s never enough to develop relationships.
I began struggling with negative thinking:
I don’t belong here.
I’m not part of this body.
I don’t have any connection with people.
I feel isolated from others.
These negative thoughts from my perspective were wrong but from God’s perspective they were necessary in order to bring about a result, since God causes all things to work together for the good.
The internal pressure I was experiencing was necessary for me to not cop-out in what I had been doing in those first 18 months, which was not developing relationships. I know now this situation was a revealer of what was in my heart and I don’t believe I’m alone in thinking this way.
If I acted on these negative thoughts I would either have to leave or build relationships. I found myself in the middle of 2 choices, which is lukewarmness, like the church of Laodicea “neither hot nor cold but lukewarm:” Leaving the church which is cold or getting involved which is hot. I believe there is a danger in a Christian’s life to prefer a state of lukewarmness. God says, “I wish you were either hot or cold”. Lukewarmness causes God to spew us out of His mouth meaning it’s unacceptable to remain indecisive.
Let me say here as a side note, that I don’t believe that when people leave the church it is not God’s will or it is God’s will, but in MY situation I had to examine my heart and this is what he was speaking to me. I knew something had to change – and it was me!
One Sunday morning when the food bank was being announced as an opportunity to serve, I believed this was the solution. We had to get involved in this ministry if things were going to change.
So I went to the food bank and have been going there for about 3 years now. Since that day I have been experiencing the joy of working with the church in giving food to the community. The food bank provided the atmosphere for building friendships with the Evergreen SGV family and encouraged me to get involved in a branch and attend church school.
I don’t feel like a stranger anymore. I feel like a part of the body and the benefits of knowing people has been so rewarding.