Today’s scripture readings seem to be about God using mundane, everyday things to get a message across to us. Jeremiah is sent to the potter’s house. The Lord tells Jeremiah, “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.” The psalmist proclaims, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.” And in Matthew, Jesus tells a parable using fisherman. As fisherman separate the good fish from the bad in their catch, At the end of the age, The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous.
I recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti. I’m still processing everything I saw and experienced. When I told people I would be in Haiti one week, many questioned what could be accomplished in such a short period. To be honest, I asked the same question. I wanted to do something spectacular. Raise a million dollars, build a bunch of orphanages. Make an impact. Do something meaningful. So, what did we do? We built outhouses for three families in the village of Maliarette. Sounds pretty small, doesn’t it? And yet, as I look at the impact on my life, on my son’s life and everyone involved, it is a huge thing.
God is all powerful. God is the Creator. God is huge. God can rain down fire to consume sacrifices and altars. We want God to dazzle us. And yet, more often God chooses to be on an intimate level with us. When Christ started his ministry, it wasn’t with something spectacular. He changed water into wine at a wedding party.
Wanting to do something huge is normal enough. We all want to make an impact. However, it can wind up paralyzing us. It can become an excuse. A way to avoid doing anything.
When we arrived in Haiti, I was shocked by the extent of the poverty. It was overwhelming at first. Sadly, I grew numb as I saw it every day. No water, no electricity. I felt that, compared to me, these people had nothing. And yet, what a wonderful, welcoming people. They love God, they love each other and they loved us. It was hot, hard work and we worked side by side. Everyone said how grateful they were.
When we prepared to leave Maliarette, the elders asked us to pray over the children. They wept. I wept. How does that happen? One week? How do people so different in skin color, culture and language bond that quickly? As we walked down a dusty road, I watched as a child ran up and slipped her hand into my son’s hand. What an incredible thing. What a gift from God.
God doesn’t need me to sit in judgment of his call. This task is too small or mundane or this really won’t do much good. I just need to be obedient to His call. As I’m finding out, obedience to God’s call can be difficult, but also rewarding and transformational. Jesus said to feed my sheep and that is what we tried to do.
This trip has made me question and evaluate. If I have everything and they have nothing, why does their joy seem greater than mine? Have I fallen into the trap of replacing God with things? Have I fallen for the myth that things bring joy? How can I improve my walk with Christ? How can I be more open to His call?
My prayer today is for all of us to be open to God’s call. To open ourselves up to be clay in the hands of the potter.
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