#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

Do you remember that time Jesus was watching folks put their money in the offering plate? He remarked that a poor widow pleased God (at least that’s how I understand the story). I can pretty much promise you that poor widow had no idea what a witness she had. First, of course, she was noticed by our Lord. Forgive me for the understatement but I think that is significant.

We are frequently given notice of the great and grand gifts of the affluent. They make the headlines. Somebody’s foundation gives $2,000,000,000 to start daycare centers or relieve a disaster or endow a School of Business somewhere. Hard not to notice. I think we should be grateful for these gifts. I am.

However…

There is that poor widow. You know, the one the Lord noticed that day. She gave less than a penny. Of all the folks who gave she is the one whose gift is still giving. She is the one who, though she didn’t know it, couldn’t have predicted it, probably couldn’t even have comprehended it, gave the gift that is touching lives to this very day. And it was less than a penny. And did I mention that she was noticed by the Lord. She didn’t make headlines. No press releases were prepared and distributed. As a matter of fact, there is no reason to believe she even knew the Lord was watching. Hmmmm.

An envelope came to the church. The address was hand written. It was addressed to me so I opened it. In the envelope was a check for $120. The giver is known to me, but just barely. She is a young mom, with more than one young child, in a single income family. She is not a member of our church so don’t go to speculating.

The check this young woman sent was wrapped in a handwritten note. “I know this isn’t much” it began, “but the teachers in Haiti move my heart and I want to help.” Then she wrote, in effect, I want God to be glorified and the Kingdom to grow.

Not much? Well, a teacher will be paid for a whole month. I suspect that teacher thinks it is pretty darn significant. And my life was made brighter and lighter and more holy. For my part this is pretty darn significant. As you read her story I am guessing you were touched. That is pretty darn significant. But let’s face it, it isn’t going to make headlines, or be the subject of a press release.

Something far greater than that is at work.

The Lord is watching. The Lord has noticed. She probably didn’t realize it. No matter. The Lord has noticed.

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 2 days ago