"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Can anyone else say a big, "PRAISE THE LORD!" with me? Too often, my thoughts are too small and my ways are all wrong. I'm so thankful I serve a Lord who is all wise and sees the big picture in all things.
Last weekend the board of Taylor Christian School (TCS) held a rummage sale to raise funds. In my human thinking, I was expecting a huge crowd to be at the door of the Taylor Community Center (TCC) gym at 7:00 AM Friday, with people pushing and shoving to buy our wares. After all, we had prayed about the sale, committed it to the Lord, and funds were to be used to further Kindgom work. Wasn't God going to compel the multitudes to come and BUY, BUY, BUY???
Nope. Didn't happen.
We opened the doors at 8:00 AM; there was no crowd. There were no people, minus the man who was working construction on the road outside TCC who we let in at 7:30 because he wanted to buy a lawn mower and had to be working by 7:30. So, there I was, waiting for the crowds. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Oh, there were people. The came like the animals into the ark ---- mostly 2 by 2. I began getting discouraged. Where where the people? Why was God not blessing the work of our hands? What was wrong?
Our day ended on Friday with no major crowd pouring through, although we did have a slight rush at lunch hour. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement. We did do a quick a count of the money and figured we had made about $500. I was glad, I must confess, that we had made THAT much based on the amount of people who had passed through. But, in my mind, we should have made much more.
Saturday morning began much the same way. However, somewhere between Friday night and Saturday morning, the Lord had been working on my heart. I was convicted of my rotten attidude and asked the Lord's forgiveness and help to see things through His eyes. When the people began coming 2 by 2, instead of feeling frustrated and upset, the Lord opened my eyes to SEE the individuals passing through our doors, rather than just waiting for the multitude.
Who did I see?
Mary, a dear sweet lady who came several times on Friday. According to her, she was on her way to buy breakfast tacos for her husband. She just happened to drop in on her way ----- and she bought more items. She returned again on Saturday, this time on her way somewhere else, but was compelled to stop in again --- and buy more things. The third time she entered the gym on Saturday, she brought each of us ladies who were working the sale a "Thank You" card, expressing her gratitude that we had taken time to help her shop. As she left the last time, she noticed the free Bibles we had on the table. She asked, "Is this a Bible? I've been wanting one. May I take this one?" How thrilling it was to tell her it was gift and that it was hers! She went away all smiles, and our hearts had been encouraged.
Saul, a young teenager who was looking at 8 very old copies National Geographic, debating whether or not he could buy them. He was thirsty for knowledge of other places and desired to learn. However, he didn't have $3.00 to pay for them. He asked me to save them for Saturday, when he could come back with his dad, who maybe would have enough money to splurge on those educational magazines. What a joy to see him return on Saturday with his dad and purchase those magazines, eager to be a learner.
The man, whose name I don't know, who entered and asked, "Is this a bodega (warehouse)?" I was shocked he didn't realize it was a community center and Christian school. I explained to him that we were in a gym that was going to be used to reach out to the community and that my husband and I would soon be walking around the neighborhood to let them know about what activities we would be having. He was amazed and is looking forward to hearing from us.
I could go on and on, because I began to see each person as a divine appointment rather than just somebody buying something. How the Lord humbled me and reminded me of the reason I am here in McAllen!
For what do these people have in common?
They may not be the richest people in this area. They may not have brought the multitudes with them. BUT, the majority of the people who walked through those doors were our neighbors. They were from the community and the very people we are wanting to reach with the Gospel of Christ! What a joy it was to meet them face to face, help them "shop," talk to them about their families and occupations, and learn about their interests and needs.
God's ways. So much higher than mine. I was focused on the financial need; He was focused on the spiritual need. I was desiring a multitude; He desired the individual.
How thankful I am that He is a God who focuses on the individual, and that He worked in MY heart to see my spiritual need for repentance, refocus and true surrender for what His purpose was for this rummage. For through this rummage, He has opened the door into the very community we've been called to reach.
Pray for us as we foster these relationships. This is only the beginning. Pray that we will stay focused on what God's purposes are and not get distracted by the things of this world. Pray that TCC will continue to be a light for Jesus in the neighborhood, a safe place where both young and old can come to learn about Jesus, but also to see Him as we serve them in love --- in whatever capacity God allows.
Praise God with us that His ways are indeed higher than ours!