Last Sunday's sermon at my home church in Pennsylvania couldn't have come at a better time for me. It was short and simple but held a powerful message about life. There were two main points, the first one of living our lives in search of the signs of God's faithfulness, and the second of being the sign of God's faithfulness. He quoted several different people on the identification of a "Christian" being found through the answers of the poor. Who would the poor say served Christ?
I have pondered this through the week to follow as I also had conversations regarding serving the poor and caring for the orphan. I wondered how I have served the poor? How have I been a sign of God's faithfulness? What if I am not able to be or do things that I admire about other's faithfulness? I admire the ones who have taken the orphan into their home, the ones who feed the homeless, and shelter the needy. I have come to realize that not everyone is able to do each thing. Although I may wish I had the ability to do one thing, God may want me to do something else.
Who are the poor? Are they limited to the absence of physical possessions? Are they hungry, homeless, parent less? Yes, but are they more? Are they the poor of spirit as well? They may have riches beyond compare, yet lack the riches found in Christ. Maybe they have also the riches in Christ, but have found themselves in the darkest valleys, the driest deserts...the places that seem so far from God. As I ponder the concept of "poor", I realize that my mission field just got so much bigger. God has given each person a different talent or maybe several talents. He wants us to use them to minister to the different kinds of poor.
A talent. Now there is another word I have come to think about. I have always read the parable of the talents believing that the talents referred to wealth. The land owner gave each of the three servants different amounts. To one, he gave 10, another 5, and the other 1. When the ruler returned the servants with 10 and 5 had doubled theirs, the one with only 1 talent had hidden the talent out of fear. The first two were rewarded for making the most of what they were given, but the servant with one talent lost even the talent he had and it was given to the first. These talents, I am learning through my own life, are not just those of wealth. They are also talents of pain and suffering. I have been given this talent. It is up to me to either bury it, or to use it to benefit others. Maybe God is calling me to reach the poor of spirit.
It is so hard to believe that a year has passed. A year ago, I was asked to speak at a women's retreat in the Pocono mountains. I accepted the invitation knowing that God would provide for me as he always has. That retreat is now two weeks away, and God continues to impress the women who attend into my heart. I have been praying for them as I have trusted God to provide the words that he wants them to hear. I know that He will be faithful. I know this because of the many signs of His faithfulness that he has given to me. It is my prayer that God will now use me as a sign of his faithfulness to someone else.