Our friends Bob and Marlene are perfect hosts. Once a month, on a Saturday evening, along with twenty to thirty others we descend upon them for the best potluck in town. I have never left the evening disappointed in the sheer variety of foods sampled or the caliber of the evening’s conversations.
Bob and Marlene originally started the potlucks to draw together a group of their friends and acquaintances that were struggling a bit, or a lot, with their spirituality. When Bob invited us we were more than willing to give it a try and what a blessing it has become in our lives.
The food isn’t the highlight of the evening, however, it is only the appetizer that leads us into an evening of praising God for His love and goodness towards us. Last evening all the blessings we take for granted living in North America came into focus when our friend Erika spoke on the conditions her friends in Nepal are living under since the earthquakes.
The Holy Spirit flooded into the room while Erika spoke. One man told me afterwards that he was standing in the hallway kind of half listening when suddenly something was said that touched his heart with such power that he began to weep. But it was afterwards when we began to worship through song and praise and prayer that our hearts soared upward towards God and outward towards the needs and pain of the broken and discouraged of Nepal.
The people Erika spoke about were her friends, she knew their stories and their needs. The earthquake was no longer a simple news item on the evening news but we had a personal connection to at least a few people and we could make a difference in their lives. As we praised God our hearts were opened and grace poured in. I can’t remember praising God with more enthusiasm and joy than I did last evening.
I believe that what made the evening so special was that we not only spent our evening reflecting upon the needs of the people of Nepal, but we were able to help in a very practical manner by giving financially to help Erika’s friends. We become overwhelmed by the needs in so much of the world that we end up thinking; let government agencies take care of the problem. But people like Erika’s friends who have lost their homes and don’t have food can’t wait for aide to trickle down to them through the system.
It would be wonderful if we lived in a perfect world where the ground doesn’t shake or mountainsides crash down into valleys, but earthquakes are part of our world and there is little to nothing we can do to stop them. We can, however, remember the needs of people and do what is possible and within our means to help. Just because the task is big doesn’t mean we should surrender to it.
Throughout Scripture God reminds us that the broken, the poor, the needy, the lonely and the hurting are not to be neglected. Jesus’ ministry was to bring redemption to a lost world. He made it clear to His followers that, as His disciples, we also will love the discouraged and forgotten of this world.
As we were looking at some of Erika’s pictures of the devastation that afflicted her friend’s lives, I couldn’t help but think about how easily I get upset when things don’t work out the way I wish. I have to wait in line longer than I want, I have to wait another day to get my tires changed, or I have to wait three or four days for a book to arrive that I’ve ordered and somehow I think I’m hard done by.
Most of us would do well to put our lives in perspective and count our blessings instead of complaining because we can’t do everything we would like to do in life. I know from your emails that some of you face situations that are far from trivial. Please don’t think for a moment that I am saying your problems are not important and not a priority in your life. All I am trying to say is put the small things that irk us into perspective and we will be more at peace with our lives.
Last evening we, as a group, were fortunate enough to be able to give generously towards helping some people mend their lives. But I know we also received a blessing by being given the chance to reflect upon our own priorities and relationships. Anytime God can remove a little more selfishness out of our personalities it is a good day. Last evening was one of those times.
Note: The photo for this blog was taken by Erika and the man in the photo is one of her friends in Nepal.
* Folks, the persecution of Christians has not stopped. If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Pray and stay informed and inform others. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…