Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Love, My Hope, My Mission

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:5)

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5)

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (I Peter 3:15)

He (Jesus) told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Luke 10:2)

Today I feel like the above verses are so powerful I barely have to write any of my own words. Don't they stand on their own so beautifully? Yes, this world is dark. Yes, it is hard to look poverty, especially children in poverty, in the face and see it for the heartbreaking tragedy that it is.


God is God. He is perfectly good and his leadership is perfect. I am so glad I went to the prayer service last night at Wabash Valley International House of Prayer. This was the topic, and it totally put to words what was in my heart. The moment we forget that God is in control and try to "save the world" by our own power, we spin our wheels and go absolutely nowhere. God HAS to be the first love in our lives. He will have it no other way. If I am angry at God for the suffering I see in the world and think that I know better how to help people than He does...I am wrong. I am sinning. And I need to get myself out of the way and put God first before I reach out to others. God is love and sometimes his love comes in the form of justice and jealousy and incompatibility of sin that I don't understand. I struggle with that sometimes(read MANY times)...and sometimes I am just so humbled and grateful that He bears that responsibility and I do not. God is God. He loves each child more than I could ever imagine.

The Bible is filled with HOPE! Go...put "hope" in the search box at Bible Gateway and see how many verses pop up. Tons! Especially when it comes to New Testament writings. You can't read all those verses and then go away convinced that poverty and evil and death are going to be victorious in the end. At least I can't. It seems like we (notice the WE, I do this a lot) go around many times with our heads down and our shoulders shrugged like..."Oh well...this world stinks and the problems are too big for me, I guess God has it under control...ho hum..." We are in Christ. We have hope. I pray that my life reflects that in an ever increasing way!

I gave some pretty hefty stats in my last post. Here's another one...there are over 270 churches in Terre Haute. Dream with me. What if every single person in every single church put the love of God first? What if every single Christian in my area was filled with hope? What if they naturally served out of that? And I realize that we all have specific abilities and gifts from God. Not every Christian will have a primary calling to serve children in poverty. But some will. Okay, time to put on your math brain, kids! If one person from each church came one day a month to volunteer at the youth center, what would that look like? There are approximately 21 week days in a month. 270...divided by 21...that's 12.85714286. So each day the youth center is open, at least 12 Christ following, kid loving, adults would come through the doors to work with the kids. What kind of a difference would that make? It would be huge and life changing. From experience, I can tell you that spending just a little time with a child can make a big difference. Sure, donations can provide much needed staff and resources. But having Jesus lived out in front in front of these kids...that is a priceless gift.

So I ask you and I ask myself...
1. Do I love God first? Do I trust his perfect leadership?
2. Do I have hope? Or am I living like satan wins?
3. Am I being obedient to God's mission for me? The kids of Ryves Youth Center are my harvest. My three children are my harvest. Your harvest may look very much the same. Your harvest may look very different. It's easy to get bogged down with the weight of the world, feel helpless, and completely miss the mission God has placed right in front of your face. I think God is very ready to answer those who ask Him to show them what their harvest looks like. My harvest may not be easy or what I want at all...but it's mine and I pray God breaks my heart to desire it and gives me the wisdom and strength to fully pursue it. I also pray that He sends more workers so that His glory is apparent to all.

Okay, so I added lots of my own words. What did you expect?? But somehow I think they may not be ALL mine... :) And you know what? I went to the youth center on Wednesday to hang with the kids. About 10 adults (plus some kids) from my church were there with me. God is good. Amen!


sherri said...

Beautifully spoken. Both HIS words and yours!

Sometimes the needs look so great, we tend to bow out feeling as though there is no way we can put a dent in the problem, so instead walk away.

It has to be broken down into maneageable portions and we must do SOMETHING to start the dent.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
-Mother Teresa

Candace Jean July 16 said...

You're right, Beth, the words could stand alone but your comments are beautiful as well. It brought back to me the starfish story that I love so much.

Helen said...

I was thinking of the starfish story, too. Seeing the poor as individuals whom other individuals can help rather than a collective too big for any one person....sigh. Jesus healed individually, didn't He? I know the story of the ten lepers, but that is still a small enough group to be able to recognize each individual and their need.... oh well, I think I'm getting off track, so I'm going...