Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Psalms 98:1 – 3 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Ten years ago I arrived at the Bayou DuLarge Baptist Church on the southernmost point of Louisiana as a part of a four person mission team. Randy, the man who would lead worship in church the next day, was inside setting up the platform for worship band practice. He and one of the high school students who plays bass guitar helped us unload the van and get all our stuff inside.
Suddenly there she was, running towards me to give me a big welcome hug. I greeted her with, “Hi, Index.” Everyone else looked at me funny. The members of our team wanted to know if that was her real name. The people from the church started to correct me. I quickly told them that “Index” was the nickname I had given to this freshman in high school the last time I had visited the church. Nicknames help me remember real names, and I gave her that nickname because she has a real name that sounds like another part of a book.
Index came from a difficult family background. She lived three houses up the bayou from the church in a house that was still at ground level and was dilapidated from the hurricanes. She is the only member of her family that knows Jesus. The rest of her family is recognized by the residents of the bayou as the most unlikely family to ever overcome the bondage of drugs, alcohol, and sin. They are, to put it in the words of Jesus, the least of these.
On the last night of our trip, we sat around the table with Pastor Jerry Moser and talked about future project needs for upcoming mission trips. He reminded me that our last group that had been there in June had put up the pillars for a house that needed to be built up off the ground. The next step was to get the beams up so the floor could be built and then the house could be started. I remembered the pictures of Pastor Dennis from our church sitting in the bucket of a Bobcat loader and working on those pillars.
I asked Pastor Jerry where that house was, and he said it was Index’s house. Then Jerry said something that deeply touched my heart. He said, “We’re building a house for the most unlikely family on the Bayou.” Then he added, “Pray for us that we’ll know who the next unlikely family is that we can help.”
Pastor Jerry is the living example of the point Jesus was making when He told this story:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
I truly believe that it is in activity like this that the words of Psalm 98 are fulfilled in our day. Helping the most unlikely is how the salvation and righteousness of God is revealed to all the people of the world. We are the extensions of the right hand and holy arm of God.
Let’s extend ourselves to the most unlikely person we know, and pour the love of God into their lives. God will do a marvelous thing in them.
It’s easy to minister to people who don’t offend us. Jesus has called us to minister to those who do.
Pray today for God to show you the most unlikely person to ever get saved. He will answer your prayer by first directing you to the mirror. Then, when you fully understand His grace, you will be able to extend His love to those you have previously considered unworthy.