And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”[c] Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:8-11
Recently, my husband and I got a place near the capital city so that when we travel down we don’t have to pay for lodging and eat out. It will be a much more economic option for us. Additionally, my husband’s mom (a beautiful woman and a widow) did not have a good living situation. We got a two-bedroom place where she can live with us, and then when we are in Kitgum (the majority of the time) there will be someone there watching the house. Our mom takes care of two of our nephews who were neglected and sickly. As a result, we get to pour into them and hug and love them when we are down here too. It feels like we are helping widows and orphans, and even when we leave our place of ministry to come down to get supplies, rest, etc., we are still able to do ministry. It is a blessing all around.
Living with a house full of Ugandans, there are certain things that I see as different. For example, the other night Robb and I arrived home at midnight after a long day in the city. We found not only was mom awake but the kids were all awake and still running around. To me, that is shocking. I’m from a world with bedtimes, structure, scheduled naps and eating times. But these aren’t bad kids; in fact, they’re incredibly sweet and content. Sure, it might be good to give them a bedtime (preferably before midnight), but it isn’t the end of world like I may have assumed. It is just different.
Different doesn’t mean bad. It may mean that it shows us a new way, maybe even a better way, to do things. Being in Uganda has taught me to care more about relationships than keeping time. I’m a slow learner, and after 10 years this lesson is STILL sinking in; but nonetheless, I think it is a very important one. This world has to run on a schedule, but sometimes just being with people is far more important than making meetings and adhering to a strict routine. People matter. This is a generalization, but by and large Ugandans get this far more than Americans. Us missionaries have much to learn from the places we go and the people we meet.
Things will frustrate and confuse us; and in those times we need to remember WHY we do it. We already discussed two weeks ago that we do it in order to win some to salvation, but I’d like to take it a little bit deeper.
Why do you, missionary, count your old life as loss and live as an alien?
Why do you, Christian, stand up for Christ in a world that mocks you and thinks you’re nuts?
We do it for the King and for the least of these. We do it for the sake of the Gospel, that all may hear and that some may turn to the Lord and find new life and hope. We do it for the widow with nowhere to live, the orphan child who never knew a father’s love, for the prisoner who has lost all hope. For the banker in a beautiful empty home full of suicidal thoughts. For the woman using her body to try to find love and acceptance, only to keep finding pain and hatred instead. For the single mother at her wit’s end, to the army veteran who lost a limb fighting for people who don’t even notice him. We do it that we may be the light of Christ in the darkness, the love of Christ in a world full of hatred and loss.
Trust me, even though it may be hard now, it can’t compare with that moment when we see our King smiling and hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Even though we have been far from good and often faltered in our resolve, God has still called us and counted us worthy to declare the Kingdom of God and the culture of Christ in this world.
Let us minister with all that we are, with every gift and strength that God has given to us. Whoever “the least of these” are in your corner of the world- love them, touch them, share the Good News with them.
Endure the hardships, the confusions, the frustrations and the heartbreak- for our King is coming soon, and His reward is with Him. (See Revelation 22:12.)
Mostly, I truly long for that day when I see the Living God smiling at this little piece of unworthy dust. It will be the culmination of every longing of my heart and soul met in that one moment as He ushers me into eternity.
What keeps you going?
What do you most look forward to when you finish your race?