During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
In January I had the privilege of serving in Puerto Rico with an old acquaintance Anderson Mack. I first met Anderson in 1985. Anderson still serves today in the same capacity he did back then at Johns Island Rural Mission in Johns Island, South Carolina. In the mid to late 80’s Laurie and I served on several youth mission trips hosted by the Rural Mission. In 1989 the Rural Mission hosted the group of United Methodist Men that I had the opportunity to lead for disaster relief one week after Hurricane Hugo came ashore. Anderson provided the local logistics for all those efforts. Now, almost 30 years later, we were again working together on hurricane disaster response in Maunabo, Puerto Rico. God is good!
Anderson and I shared old memories and I reminded him about me meeting a young man back then by the name of Charles White. That young man made a huge impression on me which I have carried on my heart ever since. In fact, I shared this story with the University of South Carolina college students that were with us one evening while we were together in Puerto Rico.
Charles White was in seminary when he stopped by to visit with Anderson. It was a typical hot summer day in 1987 at the Johns Island Rural Mission at the conclusion of our mission week. Before loading in the vans and heading back to Atlanta he and I shared a lengthy conversation. His testimony to me revealed that the reason he came to faith was because of a Christian work team that came to his house when he was a child. Because of humble and sacrificial service, God spoke to Charles’ heart. The mission team who worked on his home put their faith into action and it obviously spoke volumes to this young man.
That was the first and still the most valuable lesson I learned about missions while I was still in my 20’s. You can’t gauge how God is going to use you. It is our job to use the gifts he has given us and answer the call. Do you really think the people who worked on Charles’ house when he was a young boy had any clue of the impact they made on him? Do you think they realize how many lives Charles would positively influence serving as a pastor because of their actions? Do you think Charles had any idea what kind of influence he made on me over thirty years ago when we spoke?
It was my hopes that the USC students would understand that the work they did while in Puerto Rico could not be gauged by how much work was accomplished or by the songs of praise and worship. Often times the strongest message comes from our faith in action.
Prayer: God, we pray that you would use our actions in ways that far surpass our expectations.