God has revealed more to me this week than I could ever express in a blog post. But I am praying the Spirit will enable me to share with you a glimpse of what He showed me.
After such an incredible day with Sterling and Gabrielle when the Lord opened the door for me to share the Gospel with both of them, I was desperate to find ways to feed God’s sheep that surround me here in South Africa – those outside the walls of the American Christian office I spend my days writing in.
Thursday morning I discovered my first opportunity to serve the community with the love of Jesus by accompanying Sue, a woman from my church, to a nearby orphanage. Lambana Sanctuary has 5 homes, but we spent our morning in the home dedicated to AIDS orphans who are not allowed to attend school.
Less than five minutes after I arrived I knew I had officially stepped out of my comfort zone. Juju, a seven-year-old who can’t really walk or talk, was missing his mom Thursday and kept screaming the whole time we were present. I was also told that if you’re a first-timer, Juju gives you a hard time – that explains the punch-in-the-right-eye greeting he welcomed me with.
Don’t get me wrong, I love kids when it comes to babysitting one night at a time, and if God wills it, I hope He will give me a few of my own someday – but children’s ministry is one of the last things I would ever sign up for. Granted, I was not leading a Sunday school lesson in a church building, but I was there to share the love of God with children.
While we were playing a game of Memory with the kids, I was holding a four-month-old baby boy whose twin sister rested on a blanket beside us. As I reached out to turn over the card I hoped would match my playing board, the baby boy spit up all over me. Gross.
You see, I have always preferred to work with teens and older. Once you become a teenager you reach the point in life where you are trying to decide who you are and who you want to be, and you are willing to process with people as you journey through life together. I thrive on sharing the Good News and the powerful truths of God with those searching for something to live for. Teens would never punch me in the eye or spit up all over me – or at least, I hope not.
As I attempted to clean myself up in the washroom, God began to teach me a crucial lesson He expanded on the very next morning as I took a moment to read Friday’s devotion from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
The Destitution of Service
“Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.” -2 Corinthians 12:15
Jesus Christ’s idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of others. The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet – that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God.
Though my view of sharing God’s love has always been sharing His words of truth with others, is radically altering my perspective. Those little children will never know God’s love if I just tell them about it, rather, I must truly BE God’s love for the children to experience it. Those precious kids have no one left to love them without ceasing, but God has filled me with His everlasting love to pour out on His children – even the ones who punch me in the eye and spit up on me. Granted, I may not see direct fruit from my service, but in loving on those little children I was serving Jesus just as much as when I shared the Gospel with Sterling.
When God opens doors for us to do ministry, we do not turn them down because they are not our “style”. Rather, we step forward in humility, faithful the Lord will reveal something to us, and perhaps others, through our service, and prayerful that He might be glorified in our surrender.
Throughout the Sabbath God continued to captivate my thoughts with His view of a life surrendered to serving the Most High. In the midst of seeking the Lord through prayer and meditating on His Word, the Holy Spirit revealed an incredible vision to me! I cannot boldly share that vision with you all today, but it was sobering to sit in the presence of the Lord as He flooded my mind, body, and soul with an overwhelming passion to serve Him in complete surrender – no matter the cost.
Several times in life God has opened my eyes to see just a glimpse of a mighty vision He has called me to, but God often makes it clear I must take the necessary steps of obedience in order for the vision to move forward as planned. These commands are never easy to obey, as they often include a hovering fear of rejection, but also a greater fear of the Lord – a reverence before the One who equips me with all I need to obey.
Friend, if God is laying something on your heart, and you know it’s there, but you don’t know what to do with it – seek after Him in prayer. Ask Him to give you clarity and guide you in the direction He has planned for you to take for His glory. I promise you, He will listen and answer your prayer! It may take a long time or no time at all, but He will be faithful to show the next step He desires for you to take. Though you may not understand His calling just yet, He will show you how to follow Him in obedience.
Should we not trust God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are far higher than our thoughts? So when God chooses to reveal a taste of His purpose to us, should we not seek to follow His will above our own?
This afternoon I saw the face of Africa when I entered the over-crowded and poverty-stricken township of Alexandra. Tagging along with Trisha, an SIM missionary from my church, I was severely impressed by her ability to weave through the cramped roads peppered with children walking home from school and goats escaping from their owners. Eventually we arrived at the support center for orphaned high school boys.
While I was getting acquainted with the locals who pour into the boys, Wayne and Moses, I could not help but look out the window to see hundreds of young souls continue to walk past – praying the Lord would meet them face-to-face and keep them from walking past their one and only Savior.
As I got to know Quinoso, a 19-year-old orphaned 11 years ago and recently tossed to the streets, I enjoyed listening to him share about the USA history he learned in school, and his dream of becoming a lawyer and changing the world.
“Are you a Christian?” I asked.
“Ehh… I believe in God, but I just don’t know about being saved,” he responded.
“Well Quinoso, I believe you can change the world, but only if you have Jesus,” I said. “Jesus is the only one who is strong enough to change the world. Without Him, I can do nothing. But with Him, life is an adventure I never could have planned for myself.”
“Yes, I pray to God often, I just don’t know what is keeping me from following God,” he said. “There is more I must do first.”
“Quinoso, you know there is nothing you have to do to be ready for God to save you, right?” I asked.
“All you have to do is believe in God, believe in His Son Jesus, and desire for Him to be in charge of your life because He loves you, and you love Him.”
“Yeah?” Quinoso asked.
“Yes, really,” I assured him. “You know you are the only one keeping yourself from following God. You pray to Him as though you love Him, but have you given God control of your life yet? I will be praying for you, that you will be able to do that.”
“Yeah, yeah – I understand,” Quinoso began. “So maybe it’s like tomorrow I will be praying to God and I will ask Him to take control of me, and I will be saved.”
“Well, don’t do it just for me, Quinoso,” I said, looking him in the eye. “But I’ll definitely keep you in my prayers – seriously, my friend.”
I pray God will continue to teach me how to share His Good News of great joy through love and good deeds. Having the opportunity to share the Gospel is a powerful blessing, but it is not the only way we can demonstrate God’s love to those who surround us each day. I pray the Lord will use me for His glory in every moment – this life is not about me, it is all about Him – I hope He will strip me of my everything so He might continue to cover and consume me with His everything.
I pray God’s Spirit will open our eyes to see His sheep all around us, and give us a desire to feed them with His love in words and actions.