Upon our recent trip to Southern California we had the privilege of spending some time with one of our adopted kids-in-Christ. She and her peers from Vanguard University had gone on a mission to the Philippines earlier in the year to work with an orphanage. When she arrived back in the states she was very certain that God was calling her to go back for an immediate return trip. Learning of the opportunity and the need my wife and I were happy to provide some staple items that she would deliver to the orphanage and a birth center. In every aspect, it really was the least we could do. While in California we were blessed and convicted to hear the report of her latest mission trip.
She described for us in great detail the climate of the islands. Her “accommodations” were hot, humid and buggy. It was required that she sleep in long sleeves and pants to ward off insect bites and other night time creatures, though sleeping in this hot and humid climate with no air conditioning. Although she felt God’s hand of protection, safety is always an issue on the island as local law enforcement can be bought by the highest bidder. While she was relaying her experiences she was popping antibiotics for an amoeba she had picked up on her last trip. As she told us her story we were all to the point of tears. Why? Because she suffered so much while doing good? Because of the horrendous living conditions of those she was serving? Not at all. It was because of the glow on her face as she gave us the details-because of the love you could see in her eyes and her expression for the kids she had come to know on her trips. And because of the true guilt we felt when she told us that she could not wait to go back!
This young college student was showing me, a professed follower of Christ for over 45 years, what Christianity looked like when applied. I was and am still dumbfounded. Still dealing with parasites and bug bites this young lady can’t wait to go back into the conditions most of us would shy away from, just to be a blessing to children who have no family but show love to all who come into their villages. I was so proud and at the same time, so shamed.
We sing “Give Me Your Eyes” and “I Want to be Your Hands and Feet” emotionally in our comfortable climate controlled worship services and listen intently to messages about the Good Samaritan once a week to get out “feel good” on, but do we take it to the streets? Are we living an applied Christian faith in our everyday lives? Are we quick to jump on a soapbox over social ills and ungodly laws but slow to buy a homeless person a meal or give a coat to a street teen? Are we guilty of hitting Like and Share and typing Amen on social websites to show our faith but stingy in our response to support even our local shelters or charities? I have to tell you straight up-upon hearing this young lady’s testimony I was convicted to the core.
James 2 in the Message Bible speaks this same sentiment to me like this:
“Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really (gets it)? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say ‘Good Morning Friend! Be clothed in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit!” and yet walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup-where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”
I am not a man of means but I know now that if I am to reflect through my walk what I profess in my talk, I need to be less concerned with my approaching retirement and more concerned with the real-time needs of those around me “while it is still day”. I need to be teaching our young people how to show forth good works rather than being schooled by those who “got it” much sooner than I did. She will tell you that she’s been blessed by crossing paths with my wife and I, but I will tell you I’ve been changed by crossing hers! God help us to emulate those around us who get and apply their faith, even when they are 20 or so years our junior.