“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” Luke 10:16-21
How often are we tempted to exclaim “Look at what I did” when something went really well. Following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 there were many groups and individuals from North America saying “Look at what we did!” when returning from a mission trip. North Americans spending incredible amounts of money to build a plywood house for a family with North American hands; the funds used for airfare, food and lodging, transportation and translators that probably could have been donated to build many homes, for many Haitian families and constructed by Haitian hands. It is not about us, what we did but it is about Him and what He did for us and them and accomplished “THROUGH” us.
Jesus sent the 72 out into the world to spread the news of the Gospel throughout the land. They came back rejoicing at what the Holy Spirit had accomplished. Then Jesus gave them and us a very important lesson. Don’t rejoice that the Spirits submit to YOU, but rejoice that your names will be written in Heaven. It is not about us, it is all about Him.
The attached photo is of a preaching station in the Northwestern part of the Plateau Central, west of Saltedere. It is a small stick structure with boards attached to branches for seats. It would not surprise me to see a North American mission team to view this as an opportunity to build a new church, a parking lot, a driveway up the side of the steep hill and also provide a gasoline powered generator so there would be electricity for lights and fans. There are well meaning minds within our synod that would do that, I have seen them in action and cringed when I listened to their plans; plans about them and their North American ministry and not about Him and the ministry plan for this Haitian Lutheran congregation that worships on a hill that is closer to the Triune God than we can imagine or begin to understand. Feed my sheep, tend to my lambs said the Good Shepherd. Feeding children through Trinity/HOPE programs preparing them, like the 72, to go out into the world and share the Gospel is about Him, not about those of us supporting their education and preparation for the task of their lives; it is about Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay