Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Ministry of the Stranger

We knew that the convention would be one of the worst and were disheartened to realize that no one could be available to help him.

To represent a Christian curriculum company along the home-school convention circuit means to spend April to August on the road, often 60+ hours per week. Contact with hundreds, perhaps thousands of people on some level during that time. Long hours on feet, so many questions answered, back sore from unloading and reloading only to get back on the road and do it all again at the next stop.

The largest gatherings are nearly impossible to manage without assistance of some kind. While we had been hoping that somehow I would be available to help, in the end, the realities of four children, a dog and two cats pointed to the job He had for me now.

So he left for yet another state, and our hearts were heavy realizing the load that Daddy would carry over the next several days. We prayed for him. Prayed that somehow his body and mind would hold out, that he would have safety on the road, and that he would be able to be a blessing to someone this week. We prayed that God would meet his needs---but perhaps our faith was small.

We rejoiced with him when he called to say that the first day had been light. While that meant fewer sales, it also meant Daddy's load was lighter. We knew that the next two days would probably be a different story. Because of that he would be busy and we would have to wait for night to hear how he had fared.

So it was with surprise that I answered the phone the following day around noon and saw his number on the screen.

How is it going?" I asked, dreading the answer, but his voice was light, encouraged.

"I actually have a couple here right now helping me."

"What? I thought you had tried everyone and no one could come?"

He explained. "Well, I had a line of people in front of me this morning waiting for help. I saw this couple waiting over at the side, and recognized them as customers I knew. They had placed their order yesterday. So when I got through that line, I asked them if there was anything I could help them with. They said, "Actually, we were hoping maybe we could help you. We can see that you are backed up, is there anything we can do?"

Later that night he called to say that the couple had stayed all day, answering people's questions the best they could and just helping with managing the numbers of people coming through. Not only that, but they had said they would be back the next day.

And they were. For two days, they stood by his side, refusing the offer of payment, just following the leading of the Lord in their own lives. My husband said that without their help, sales would have been much less, but also that he would have been unable to manage the crowds.

While this was a few months ago, now, we think in awe of how the Lord provided in this situation. He chose to use two servants of His who were willing to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit to meet the needs of another child of God.

I wonder if I had been the one there, would I have had the courage to follow that leading--offering my help simply on the basis of seeing someone bogged down in work. I am so challenged by these two. Sometimes God works, miraculously. Sometimes he actually sends angels to meet our needs, but sometimes there are Christians who are living such a Spirit-guided, love-filled life that they are ready vessels to be used of Him.

My prayer can only be that my ears and my heart will be tuned to Him each day, and that my response will be that of a willing servant.....as it was with these two.

"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:44, 45)

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (I Pet. 4:8-10)

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