“But the Lord stood beside me. He made me strong so that the message would be fully preached through me and that all the Gentiles would listen. The Lord rescued me from the lion’s mouth.”
II Tim 4:17 (Simple English Bible)
Jacques (not his real name) was confronted by a group of rebels that had raided his small village in the Congo. He was only 12 and knelt in the dirt along with the terrified villagers. There were only about 40 people who were subsistence farmers. The rebels were angry that there was not much food or anything else to loot. They beat up two of the older men who were the village leaders out of frustration. The situation was dire.
The young boy noticed that one of the rebels had a dry mouth and was licking his lips. Jacques rose and walked to a crude bucket that contained river water collected that morning. He scooped a gourd full and handed it to the rebel. The man was startled when Jacques said that he was giving the water in the name of Jesus. The man drank greedily and passed it to the next man. Jacques filled the gourd many times. The rebels left, almost embarrassed.
I asked Jacques if he was afraid. He’d heard the stories of Christ from his uncle in the next village and decided that a thirsty man would be blessed if he acted with Jesus at his side. Imagine that, an entire village saved by a boy’s faith and a gourd of water.
What could we do with such faith?
“Loving money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people want money so badly that they have wandered away from the faith. They have so painfully wounded themselves.” I Tim 6:10 (Simple English Bible)
Johnny was on a short term mission trip, which his church had organized for him. He wasn’t comfortable with his quarters and refused to eat some of the food that had been carefully prepared for him by the local Christians. He complained that there was no TV, no cell phone reception and no air conditioning. He threw several hissy fits, which caused disruption with his hosts.
It was so bad, he said, that he wanted to take an early flight back home. Johnny’s main goals were repeated over and over. No way did he want to be a poor missionary! He was going to college, graduate and find the highest paying job he could find. He wanted a pretty wife, a Mustang and a condo. Of course, Johnny would still remain a faithful member of the church.
The contrast of faith between those who are in terrible need and those who have plenty is great. It seems that the more we have, the less concerned we are about others. We spent time harnessing our resources to get the biggest bang for the buck. And yet, those who had so little and who are in need of the basics of life, appear to remain so strong in their faith that they share what little they have with others.
Makes us think, doesn’t it?
“There’s no such thing as ‘nothing’!” Anon friend.
Jack found his son, lying on the couch in the living room. The teen was apparently dozing — not watching TV, playing computer games, using his iPhone or even sleeping. When asked, Kevin said that he was just doing nothing. He was tired of everything else and was bored. And, he added, he was bored with being bored! Jack asked his son to help him with raking the leaves in the yard and suddenly, Kevin found he had other things that needed to be done.
There are times when I feel that certain church functions are just filling up space and time to show people how busy it is. I also believe that there are Christians who interfere with programs and projects because they are bored and criticizing is easier than actively participating. My personal Rule of Thumb is very simple: if someone is working hard and complains, I’ll listen and help. If someone snipes from the sidelines without any interest in helping, they have a problem.
Our entire focus is on Christ and Him glorified. Everything we put into motion and everything that we can do to reveal our Lord to the world, should be foremost in our speech and actions.
PS Steve apologized for the huge gap in the Thought for the Day. A new computer system has been installed and it appears that all the glitches and hiccups have been solved.