Sunday, December 02, 2007

Insight from AFRICA

I sat quietly last sabbath- so desperately needing a touch from the Master's hand. I was worn from a week of busyness...my heart dry,my soul thirsting...I willed my mind to empty of the grime and find, amid the chaos of my thoughts... a place of rest. I wanted to trade my agitation for His peace. To this place of worship, I brought my burdens and laid them down. I allowed my voice to lift up His praise in song with that of the others. All week God had prepared my heart for what I was about to hear.

There was a small space of stillness before Kayla was introduced to share her experiences from her summer's mission trip. A second-year, mechanical engineering student, she went to Tanzania, Africa with Campus Crusade For Christ. Kayla spoke quietly yet she spoke with conviction and an intensity that moved me.

She shared how her trip to Africa changed her life. Kayla learned to speak Swahili and to assimilate into their culture. Kayla described how in North America, our culture focuses on achievement and how we're success-driven. She described our educational system and job training. Goals, striving,and results are the North American measures of success. Not so with the poverty- stricken country of Tanzania. These vibrant people value relationship over everything else. She found it refreshing and beautiful.

Kayla's experience- shared-has also been changing my life. Somehow these people have it right. Isn't that what love is all about.

"If I have not love, I am nothing. Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous;love does not brag and is not arrogant,...does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;...but the greatest of these things is love." I Corinthians 13:2,4-8,13 NASV

Over the past week, I ponder my past, and the legacy I'm birthing for all those who follow after.
I ponder the achievements that have peppered my life - faded badges,tarnished trophies, framed degrees. The hours, the sweat, the tears...pursuits deemed worthy...does God see them as stubble and hay...rusty treasures...

I have since laid them down. With those self-same tools I forced my heart, nerve, and sinew to pursue a higher call. That of love. I still know victory and defeat, success and failure, triumph and disaster. This journey of holiness, righteousness, and love is not for the faint-hearted. I have no diploma on my wall, no paycheck in my pocket, and no name on any "Honour Roll" on earth.

Yet I do not travel this journey on my own. I follow the man with nail prints in His hand, whose cross led Him to our Father's right hand. When he stooped to wash His disciples feet, His glory shone. When He left this earth to prepare our home, He left behind a gift. His spirit...living in me and you.

"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 NASV

So my reward, as I do His will on this earth, will not be measured in the North American way. This world is not my home.


Put on heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other,...And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:12-14 NASV

Strive, push, achieve,....and in it all we've lost something very precious.
Our North American culture has lost the value and time for one another...relationships are failing. We have not love.

Not so in Tanzania. Relationships are paramount. They make time for one another. They are dirt poor. Poverty, in abundance by the world's standard. They are rich in relationship.

Kayla came back blessed. She travelled across the world to learn a valuable lesson. She's brought it back. It touched her. It has touched me.

I ask myself, how will I live my life differently? What will I change?

Help me to love like You love...see the way You see. Help me to pour myself into dying to self and living for You.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy...Blessed are you when men cast insults, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great,...
Matthew 5:7,11-12 NASV

By Joyful Fox

1 comment:

Angcat said...

Yes and Amen and beautifully stated Ellen!
Love Ang