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Gifts in Action

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At the beginning of the global pandemic, Will Whitlock was unemployed and unsure what was next. He saw his season of unemployment as an opportunity to do what the Lord calls each of us to do in Mark 12. While you read Will’s story, think of ways you can love and serve those around you as a reflection of God’s love.

How did you come to know the Lord?

“A close friend who I’d known for a while started conversations with me about God and invited me to Watermark. When I finally attended a Sunday service, I was blown away. This was totally different than any environment I’d been in before, especially the church I went to occasionally growing up. I became so curious after the message, and I kept showing up to learn more.

“Every week from the stage, they mentioned the section of the Watermark News where you can get connected and learn about Jesus. I filled out the section, and someone from staff met with me the next week. We talked about my life, and he asked me, ‘If you were to die today, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven on a scale from one to ten?’ I answered, ‘Six.’ He was patient to read Scripture with me after that, especially Romans 6:23, ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ When he asked me the question again in June of 2018, I was certain I was a ’10.’ After learning more of the Bible and understanding that Christ came to die for my sins and to give me the gift of eternal life, I trusted Him with everything.

“Through learning God’s Word, prayer, serving, and re:generation, I really have grown in my relationship with Christ. My life flipped from looking for worldly pleasures and worshipping false idols. Knowing Christ has allowed me to sin less and ask forgiveness from God and others quickly. Jesus’s love for me through His death on the cross shows me how perfect He is – and how I am not. I walk a different way that I did before. I have more peace and confidence in everything I do. Even my family can see how I’ve changed. They’ve seen my life transform. I want people to ask, ‘What changed in him? Why is he saying that? Why does he serve that way?”

How do you apply Mark 12:30-31 in your life?

“I have a background in cooking and food, so I ended up serving at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, a nonprofit organization that provides food, healthcare, and other services to those in need in West Dallas. I loved serving there and connecting with people. I learned the importance of seeing familiar faces week after week to build relationships with neighbors and our city. It is a great way to serve both God and people.

“In March of 2020, at the start of the pandemic, I was laid off from my job. While I was disappointed with the reality of unemployment, I also saw this time as an opportunity to serve more. I wanted to use my free time to faithfully honor God by serving others. With a bigger, consistent commitment, it was even more obvious and clear why God calls us to serve others.

“Through my job search, I continued to serve with Brother Bill’s and eventually, that helped me form connections with the Watermark South Dallas team. I see how impactful and important it is to care for our neighbors, and Watermark South Dallas is just one way our body is doing that. My friends connected me with an organization, Our Calling, who had an open position for a food service manager, and I was later hired to work full time there. Now, I get to work for an organization that serves others. I still get to interact with, care for, and serve people who don’t know Christ.

“Now, I am following Jesus – someone I didn’t know or listen to for so much of my life. As I learned more about what Jesus did for us, it encourages me. What does He ask us to do? Love our neighbors. This last year has been so hard, but it’s also been one of the best years of my life because of the opportunities God has given me. He’s allowed me to serve and make connections with people who need Him just as much as I do. It has really strengthened my walk with the Lord.

“I’ve never been rich, but I’ve always wanted to be. I used to think I needed to be a millionaire or financially well-off, but I don’t need that. I see now that life in Christ is abundant. And that is why I serve. In my life, I bet on so many things that were stupid, but this is a bet you cannot lose. If you trust in Christ and trust that He will lead your life, you can’t lose. God has put me in a position to love others daily through my gift of cooking, and now I get to work somewhere that has the same passion for serving as I do."