Saturday, January 28, 2012
Shining in Shone
Our traveling group is up to 11 from the Sioux City area and 19 overall. We had another meeting last night to work through some of the details, including discussing the medical supplies, the swing set, the donations, how we're going to connect with the sponsored kids, and of course we had some great food, dessert, and coffee. There were also a number of other things we talked about that resulted in roars of laughter, but those are not blog-appropriate - please ask me in person if your interest is peaked!
We also took some time to talk about why each of us felt that God had led us to go on this trip. It was clear that God had led each of us on separate paths in the last several years, with each path aimed toward this trip. And the really cool part is that the trip isn't the end of the journey, it is merely just another step in each of our lives. He will continue to work in each of us, taking us to amazing places as we yield to His leadership. Where will each of us be a year or two years from now? How will we be affected by the trip? How will God show Himself to us?
I have again been thinking about the parable in Matthew 25, where Jesus tells the story of the King who separates the sheep and the goats. The climax of the story is the realization that for both groups, their end is determined by what they did or didn't do. Neither realized their encounters with the "least of these" were actually encounters with the King. And their acceptance or rejection of the "least of these" was actually a rejection of the King. Why did some meet the needs of the "least of these" and some reject them? Was it due to goodness within them?
We are going to a place that is filled with people that our society would call the "least of these." We will be with people who have nothing. Nothing, that is except disease, hunger, loneliness, and despair. We who are going are broken vessels - complete with faults, weaknesses, fears, and failures. In ourselves, we have no ability to say yes to the needs of the "least of these." We would reject them every time if it were up to us. But God has poured His love into us, so that that same love can pour through us into the lives of others. If God had not poured His love into us first, we would walk away. We would be OK knowing that there are starving, diseased, ignored people on the other side of the globe. We would be OK doing nothing. The only reason we go is because God was not OK with walking away from us.
So our going to Ethiopia to meet the needs of the "least of these" does not put an emphasis on us, but instead puts the focus on God. Because it is He that transforms broken vessels in useful vessels. He fills those useful vessels with Himself and puts them in a place to serve others. Not because of the beauty of the vessel, but because of the beauty of the Potter.