Monthly Archives: August 2011

Of Shoe Shiners & Saints

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There are countless reasons I could give for why I love working at Compassion International. If you asked my everyday for a year, I am confident I could give you a different answer.

It’s not just the work that we do, releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, that brings satisfaction.  Honestly, there are some days that if feels more impossible than probable.  The issue of poverty is huge, and when push comes to shove, we have a long way to go.  But those days are growing fewer as the Church begins to awaken to the call of Isaiah 58.

It’s working alongside faithful followers of Christ.  It’s the church, being the church, that is perhaps the biggest blessing and greatest comfort in carrying my seemingly small day-to-day responsibilities. In the grand scheme of the Compassion totem pole, I’m somewhere very close to the bottom.  And yet, I know that the light load I am able to carry, must in fact be carried so I am grateful to play my part. Everyone from our CEO and President to the crew that translates child letters to the team that processes every check that comes in, touches the life of a child simply because they showed up for work.

But this is still not even what I count the greatest benefit.

It’s hearing God tell His story.  It’s seeing Christ in the smile of every child that survived another year and every sponsor that decided having cable wasn’t a justifiable excuse for not sponsoring a child.

It’s seeing the King and Creator of the universe manifest Himself in the most unlikely, humble, and easy-to-miss places. In mud huts covered with thatched leaves in Ethiopia, eating nothing but bread. In cardboard shanties along sewage-ridden streets in Kenya, drinking dirty water. In the cold and desolate mountain communities of Bolivia, herding lamas.  In the most rural and indigenous forests of Ecuador, hunting with a bow and arrow.

In a small town in South Korea, shining shoes.

It’s the stories.  And this, is just one of dozens that we see and hear about every week.

It’s the stories of ordinary people with ordinary lives, doing the most extraordinary things, because we serve an extraordinary God.

Every week I come to work, I pray that He writes an extraordinary story through my ordinary life.

I pray that you invite Him to do the same.

there’s something to be said for…

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I’m beginning to notice a pattern as I get older.

Life is becoming more complicated.  More decisions need to be made. More responsibilities are  graciously bestowed.  More time is requested.  More attention needed here.  More detail needed there. More bills come monthly.  All in all, more experience is available to be had, whether you went looking for it or not.  And that experience than needs to be filtered; it needs to be  unpacked and repacked into something useful.  Like perspective.

There’s something to be said for perspective. There’s something to be said for being able to seeing beyond your circumstance and considering that where you are not is now where you’ll always be; you’re only passing through and for some reason you may not understand, the Lord saw fit to take you on a scenic route.

There’s something to be said for perspective and how it’s ultimately undergirded by faith. Oswald Chambers illustrates it this way:

God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster. And Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken. His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God’s. But what seemed to be failure from man’s standpoint was a triumph from God’s standpoint, because God’s purpose is never the same as man’s purpose.

If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, “I wonder why God allowed this or that?” And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.

There’s something to be said for perspective.

There’s something to be said for understanding and  accepting the fact that we are simply not our own. And if we’re not our own, then where we go, what we do, and how we get there isn’t up to us. But what is up to us, is what we do with everything we encounter along the way to being drawn closer to the heart of God.

Will we look for the mysterious ways that the Lord has woven together a tapestry beyond our wildest imagination?  Or will we see only the other side of the pattern? The knotted and messy strings being pulled and poked here and there without realizing what lies on the other side?