Joanna Burdett and her husband are missionaries serving in Madagascar. Her last post on her blog really hit home with me, so I wanted to share it with you. (Please stop by her blog. The Burdetts are NEVER short on adventures!)
This post is about a process, not a lesson learned and checked off the list. The call of Jesus is to follow Him. Sure, sometimes that means Sunday School and Sermons, village outreaches, health clinics that help hundreds of people or disaster relief during cyclone season. Those are the more visible acts of following that look good in prayer letters. Then there’s a normal day – choosing joy when the geckos nibbled most of the cinnamon rolls that were supposed to be for breakfast, smiling at the beggar who is not happy with the donation just given, praying for someone who takes advantage of you, dealing gracefully with people who steal from you, or speaking kindly to someone you’d rather pinch. I don’t always follow that well. (yes, missionaries struggle too!)
There is a beggar in our town who is wheeled around by three different kids. He has cerebral palsy, probably no education and has most likely begged his whole life. He knows our truck and will wait by it until we come out from the market to give him money. He also comes by the house for rice. He has also asked for batteries and soccer cleats. The other day he tracked me down in the road to ask for something more than rice. His speech is slurred and I didn’t understand what he wanted. Yesterday, Bobby called me to say the crippled guy wanted a pot because his was stolen. That’s what he’d been trying to tell me! Did I have a pot I could give him? Yes. Did I want to give him that pot? No. My first thought was “but I like all my pots!” Then the Spirit rebuked me. The guy didn’t have any pot and I was fretting over which one to release! Even then, as I gave him the pot, the temptation was strong to mention how valuable a gift he was receiving. ( I can’t believe myself even as I write this!)
Sometimes we feel like we have given and given and can’t give any more. If one more person asks us for something, we will scream. Then Jesus asks us to give again. Jesus said if any man would follow Him he was to deny himself, take up his cross and follow. For me, yesterday, following meant giving up the luxury of four pots so that a crippled guy with cerebral palsy could have one. Today, it means doing/being/saying whatever God asks of me today. Tomorrow? Well, let’s just say I’m so very grateful for new mercies every morning. I have a feeling this will be a life-long lesson. Hopefully, next time I will more quickly respond with a cheerful heart.
-- Joanna Burdett, Madagascar