I had an especially moving experience yesterday that I'd like to share. Our pastor began a new sermon series last Sunday morning entitled "Dare to Make a Difference." He's challenging us to get out of our comfort zones and live a bold faith rather than the complacent, safe approach that seems to be the default mode for most of us.
As a part of that, he asked me to provide him with some photos of the Tabitha Ministry that functions at the city garbage dump in Guatemala City. I've posted about that on several occasions previously on this blog. Each of our missions teams that has gone there in recent years as well as the folks who've gone with me on the leadership training events have all visited the Tabitha Ministry while there. I suspected that he was going to be challenging us to make a significant investment in the Tabitha Ministry, similar to a challenge he issued shortly after he began serving with us 3 years ago. He proposed at that point that we give away an entire Sunday offering to support the work of three different agencies that all are involved in meeting human needs. We did so and the church generously responded by making up that amount within 2-3 weeks.
Back to the emotional experience.... After I had worked in the morning to pull up some appropriate pictures and other info regarding the Tabitha Ministry, I went home for lunch. As I do most days at lunch, I was reading my "Through the Bible in a Year" selections on my cell phone. I'm using the New Living Translation this year and was catching up from missing Tuesday's assigned reading. I came across the following verse in the midst of Hannah's prayer that she offers in 1 Sam. 2. The first part of verse 8 reads as follows, "He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump." Having just seen the pictures of the precious children that the Tabitha Ministry cares for on a daily basis that would otherwise be rummaging through the hazardous and unsanitary garbage with their parents in an attempt to find something to salvage, recycle, or even eat, I was overcome with the impact of that verse. I related the experience to our pastor and told him to feel free to share it with the congregation this coming Sunday. He confirmed to me this afternoon that he had sought and received approval from the Finance Team to give away our entire Sunday offering this coming weekend for the Tabitha Ministry. I can't wait to see how our folks respond to this challenge to make a difference in the lives of some of "the least of these" that Jesus talks about in Matt. 25.