October 26, 2005

Things that go *pop*

God keeps things interesting in our lives. When He is teaching you something, it seems to keep *popping* up in your life. My husband was preaching on Sunday (it’s ok, he’s a pastor) partially on Luke 10. Jesus was preparing His disciples to go out and preach His Message in towns all across the land. It was a monumental task….a dangerous occupation to say the least, challenging old traditions with this new message of love and forgiveness. So Jesus tells 72 of His followers to go with only the clothes on their back….

”Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages….” Luke 10:4-7

I thought, Wow, that is faith….to go out like that, trusting people to take care of you. (the kindness of strangers, so to speak) Through unfolding events the rest of the day and on during the week, I realized that is what we do as a ministry family. *pop*

It was a good Sunday, but a bit strange. I guess somewhere someone dubbed October as Pastor Appreciation Month. So all month the man of the house has been receiving cards of appreciation…..and we know they all meant every word. We have a wonderful church family that takes care of us, encourages us, and let’s God lead them through my husband. He is a good pastor, and the people trust him. And I can say from living with him every day for 21 years that their trust is not in vain.

So on Sunday the church had a dinner after church and they sat us at the front table, then began standing up one by one to tell Charles, and also our youth pastor, how much they loved them, appreciated them, how they were standing beside them.

These people, as they stood, made me remember things Charles had gone through with them, though they didn’t mention specific events….funerals of loved ones, weddings, babies, vigils in hospitals, sickness, fervent prayers in times of need in their homes, driving people places, fixing their roof, digging a water line up, chopping wood for elderly friends for the winter to heat their homes….I could go on and on. It is always humbling somehow, to be publicly applauded.

Last spring a couple in our church gave us a trip to Israel, which we’ve been planning for ever since…we finally lift off of American soil this coming Monday. So the church presented us with two very nice sets of luggage and spending money for the trip. We felt very grateful, overwhelmed actually….all the public attention for ministry that has been very personal, so much of it behind the public eye. Even though you feel like you shouldn’t be receiving rewards for service, Luke 10:7 says, “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.” *Pop*

Of course Charles isn’t in the ministry for public attention, money, or rewards. But it is true that if you’re serving Christ and spreading the Message, He will take care of you through His people. Sometimes He blesses your socks off through them….sometimes you simply have what meets your needs. (and that’s ok too)

What was really hard to accept was when we received another card of appreciation on Tuesday, along with a check from a church member who lives on a very fixed and lowly income.

Charles opened the card and said, “Oh, this is from x.” Then he lifted up the check and our eyes met. “This is for $…..” I immediately said, “Oh x can’t afford that…what should we do?” To which my wise husband explained that this person wanted to do something for us.

He has helped x and been x’s friend…Charles has had many long counseling talks with x….and now x wanted to bless us. I am still struggling, thinking of this humble person giving us a very generous gift. But to give it back would to be robbing x of the blessing God gives those who are generous…who want to bless others. Jesus saw the widow who gave all she had to the Temple in Luke 21:1-4 and praised her for it. *ever so humble a pop*

The note in the card from x was full of sincere joy for us, learning of our trip-to-Israel gift….and asked for one thing….a post card from the Holy Land. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. I think seeing this attitude and generosity from someone I should be generous to was more the blessing than the monetary gift.

Yep, God keeps things interesting….keeps us humble as we learn to walk along with Him…teaching us lessons that sometimes don’t make sense until we see them through His eyes.

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