On vacation, I can wake up cheerfully just after dawn to go for a jog on the beach.
My family and I can happily walk miles and miles from one end of Chicago to the other just to see stuff.
We are fine sweating ourselves to death in line at amusement parks, with nary a complaint.
But these are not things we would do in Barboursville.
It’s rare for me to take a jog, and if so, certainly not early and not with excitement.
Sometimes when shopping, I will literally drive from the Dollar Tree to Target, in the same shopping plaza.
And most of the time we don’t even think about eating dinner on the patio unless it’s a perfect 72 degrees.
It’s crazy how some things make so much sense somewhere else, but not where we are from. We look at it differently.
I noticed this as well when we were in Ecuador for 2 weeks. Not just the food, where we frequently ate chicken, beans and rice, or the walking, which we did a lot of. But important things, that seemed so important there, and had never even crossed my mind in my hometown.
I think a lot of us noticed this during one of the prayer services, where from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. we prayed for the church of Ibarra, in a million different ways. Praying for electricity, the neighbors, financial needs of the church, and certainly people – people who go there, people who lead there, people who drive by. After we finished, someone said what we all were surely thinking, “I was wondering, ‘Why don’t we do this for our own churches?’”
Prayer services was a big one, and one of my favorites, but there were so many others. Visiting people at the hospital, at a disabled home, playing soccer using a Gatorade bottle with some bored kids while they waited on their moms to get off work at the bus station. Praying for and with strangers.
Bible studies were held in homes of people who go or are interested in going to their church. Then those being taught are trained to teach other. Discipleship at its best.
We stopped people in the park, and held signs at the bus station, just to ask if we could pray for them in some way.
Would I do that at home?
Do people need prayer less in Barboursville? Nope.
We weren’t afraid of looking silly there, standing in an intersection wearing wigs and crazy hats, holding signs saying, “Jesus Te Ama,” letting people know Jesus loved them.
Would I do that across 3rd Avenue? (I’m not 100 percent sure that would be legal here, but still, you get the point…)
A lady asked if the short-term missionaries could visit her tiny business and have a Coke with her while we prayed for her and her store. We did and we cried.
Would we do that here if someone called the church and asked for 20 people to come pray for their store?
I’m asking these questions to have us, you and I, answer them. Would I do these things here? Would I see it as equally important in Barboursville and Huntington as I did in Ibarra and Ambato?
If you already know and can answer yes, I am very proud of you. I mean that. I think a lot of us forget the importance of things like stopping to help one person even if it makes us late somewhere. Or having a conversation with a stranger, who needs us to talk to them. Or praying for our friends, for random people, for our pastors. For those of you who have already had this light-bulb moment and can say yes, you do this, I want to be more like you.
For the rest of us, let’s pray this prayer and ask God to open our eyes to see the things around us in a new way.
Father, thank you for always leading us to become more and more like You. We want more of that. Show us how You would do it. Help us see the people around us the same way Y
ou see them. Give us courage to speak, pray, love and do the kinds of things You would do. Give us passion for this. We love You. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.”