“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:26…………………………………..
When I asked a sweet friend who had been graciously folding and stapling countless of my Gospel tracts and devotionals for homeless shelters, prisons, requests from people around the country, and for my streets ministry work, what kind of help she might need, her answer was simple and straightforward. Folding. If someone could do the folding, she would do the stapling with the electronic stapler I had given her. I could take on the folding, but I already had my hands full with the writing and streets ministry work, along with leading the ministry and caring for the little crew of special needs and senior rescued dogs on the road with me. Who then would fold? In a busy world that is often more self-consumed than God-serving, who would step forward? The Lord put someone on my heart, but I immediately questioned Him. Then He reminded me not to doubt, and I made the call.
I called a beloved friend who had just at the age of 52 started chemotherapy for severe pancreatic cancer. She was sick. She was run down. She was worn out. She was having trouble eating and keeping the food in for nourishment. She was sleeping much of the time. She had other trials, too. But she had a heart of gold, and she was more on fire than she had ever been for the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, every opportunity she had, in the doctor’s office, the hospital, wherever she went, she sought opportunities to talk to people about Jesus. She even had set a stack of my Gospel tracts in the oncologist’s waiting room. She was my relatively new and very dear friend who had once shared with me that ever since she was a little girl she had been staring at the sky. Why? She was waiting for Jesus to come back! But despite her love for the Lord, how could she possibly respond to my question? Would she, and her daughter, help with the folding of tracts and devotionals? The answer is obvious, right? No way!
Not so! Her answer was immediate. Of course! Of course she would! She would be delighted! Thrilled! Ecstatic! Her joy was so manifest! She was so excited! I could hear her responsiveness over the phone! Of course she would help, she said. Of course her daughter would join in. Maybe even her daughter’s boyfriend, also. But this was not all. She made it abundantly and emphatically clear, with an energetic voice whose energy could only have come from the Lord given her physical circumstances, that she would do ANYTHING I needed help with in my ministry work for the Lord. Oh, how she wanted to serve the Lord! It was so clear!
A heartwarming, and heart-wrenching story, isn’t it? But that’s not all, is it? Is there not a message in this? How about us, us with excellent health, us with relatively easy, or at least pretty manageable circumstances? Us whose challenges we can in God’s strength by His grace handle pretty well? Us who relish in comfort, in security, in our plans, agendas, hopes, our dreams, our daily schedules with our daily doings, our daily wants, our risk-free, or low-risk lives, our I-love-you-Lord-but, but-I-don’t-want-to-do-this, our serving God sometimes, if at all, or serving Him based on what makes us feel good, etc.? Oh, of course this isn’t true for us all. But is it not true we could all do a better job of humbling ourselves before the Lord and serving Him however HE desires, whenever HE desires, even when we will need to sacrifice some of our time, yes, “our time”, which is really HIS time He gives us, and sacrifice other stuff like money, comfort, whatever, which is really HIS provision for us, whenever? Could we not all do better at laying down our lives for Jesus Christ who laid down His life for us? I don’t know about you, but even as much as I have forsaken so much for Christ, and serve Him more than I ever have, there is always room for more denying of self, and of selfishness, to be more available to, and more usable by, the Lord.
I don’t know how the folding will turn out. I don’t know how all the details will work out, like if our mutual friend who will deliver and pick up the booklets will be okay with the schedule, or how we will coordinate with my friend who does the stapling, and how long God will have us all work together in this for Him, but I do know this. This heartwarming story, so orchestrated by God, with my friend who is such an inspiration in all this, does in fact contain a powerful and convicting message for us all, does it not?
Is God speaking to you through this story? Are you sacrificing for Christ? Serving Him? Seeking and hearing and obeying God in all things, including in service to Him? The Lord will give my friend the strength to do what He has called her to do, even with her health as it is right now, and He will also give you and I the strength and resources for all He calls us to do in His name, and for His glory! Oh, to God be the glory, AMEN!