Thursday, January 21, 2010

Be Available, Be Content

The  packing list warned:  “Hi-Tech clothing is not cheap.”  Undaunted, I prepared to face the hostile environment of nature in the Peruvian Alps.  I was a part of a trekking team distributing newly translated New Testaments to remote villages located in the rugged Cordilleras Negra.

I arrived there well equipped with tough lug soled, ventilated hiking boots, alloy-tipped hiking stick and polypropylene clothing.  I was confident that I had done had done a good packing job and was well prepared.

“I have everything I need--except next time I would throw in one of those towels with compressing properties,” I told the director of missions, adding,  “you know the ones, super absorbent but fast drying.”  He looked at me, and said, “Don’t think about what you need--think about how to use what you have.”

I looked at him, standing on the mountaintop, dressed head to toe in cotton, wearing second-hand tennis shoes and saw a ready vessel for God—a contented man. Humbled, I started to reflect on familiar Bible stories, a papyrus basket, coated with tar and pitch, a tent peg and hammer, a little oil and empty jars, five smooth stones from a stream, shepherd’s bag and a sling, five loaves and two fishes.  God uses possessions and people that are available. I resolved to take the first step necessary to be used by God—be content.

Ecclesiastes 6:7-11                       
PRAYER:  Lord, help me to make the best use of what I have.  Make me a vessel ready for the extraordinary by possessing an available and contented spirit; in Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hi-Ho-It’s Off To Work I Go

“One Bible per family.” I told the principal as he handed me a hardboiled egg in exchange for a stack of Bibles.  High in the Cordilleras, the Peruvian Alps,   glaciered peaks and rugged, remote territory surrounded me.  The school in this tiny village was the first stop in a five day trek to distribute the newly translated New Testaments.  Outside the school building, I began to peel the egg, dropping the shell on the ground.  A small boy ran up and began to gather the tiny pieces of eggshell.  The principal, seeing my embarrassment explained that every day, each child in the community receives a glass of milk and some oatmeal from the government, a slice of bread from a non-profit and a hardboiled egg from the telephone company.  He continued, “Here at school we compost and teach the children stewardship: how to care and feed the soil.”  The boy’s example caused me to examine my life, with an attitude of gratitude. Did my life exhibit the same simple, immediate obedience to my heavenly Father? Did I hurry to obey His voice?

PRAYER:   Lord, when you say, “Go and work in the vineyard today.”, let my response be, “Yes, Lord.” Followed by simple immediate obedience; through Christ Jesus. Amen.
                                                      S.M. Merchant—Lakewood, CO

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22