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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Love and Apples

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels but, didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing."
-- I Corin 13:1-3 (NLT)

Several weeks ago, I blew it with a dear friend of mine. In a nutshell, she needed me, I was busy and I simply wasn't there for her. I was consumed with my own problems and the craziness of my own life and I missed a great opportunity to minister to and love on a sweet friend.

I've repented of all this and shed buckets of tears over my response (lack of response) to my friend's need. It's humbling to come face to face with your own sin and selfishness. It's one thing to see those things and work to correct it in your children -- it's quite another to see it in yourself. And yet I'm thankful for this experience because it's been so eye opening and shown me so much about the depths of my heart.

Lately I think I've had complete tunnel vision for our ministry in Africa. I've become so passionate about the work of SixtyFeet and the children of Uganda and I am captivated by the beauty of adoption. I feel so privleged and blessed to work with those so near and dear to the Lord's heart and it's easy to let my whole life become consumed with this work.

But here's the thing -- as much as I love SixtyFeet, I never want to become so consumed by the work of this ministry that I start missing the point. And the point of all of it -- every email, every fundraiser, every mission trip, every second of work that goes into it all - is love.

The opportunities to simply love are all around me. Without question we are called to love, serve and defend the poor, the orphan, the widow and the prisoner. But we're also called to love in the plain ol' everyday situations -- our families, our neighbors and, yes Shelly, our friends. It's not either or. It's both. And God equips us for all of it. Just because I'm involved with an orphan ministry in Africa and engrossed in an international adoption does not excuse me from also loving the people around me.

So I'm working on it. As I said, I am thankful for this recent experience with my friend because it taught me so much. Earlier this week, I spent over an hour on my front porch talking with my refridgerator repair guy. I wasn't witnessing or praying with him or anything -- I honestly felt that the Lord just wanted me to take some time and be a pair of ears for this sweet man. In the hour that we talked, he shared with me everything from his mother's battle with cancer to his brother's 30 year drug addiction.

This weekend, my children and I baked a carmel apple pie (with our own hand-picked apples, I might add!) and made cards and took it all to our neighbor -- a lonely, older single woman. And Dan and our little guy, Davis, spent Saturday morning helping some friends with some fixer-upper projects on their new home.

We managed to squeeze in a little SixtyFeet business as well -- but mostly we just took some time to love and invest in the people around us. And that brings glory to Him. And that's what it's all about.

It's not ok to neglect the poor, the widow, the orphan and the prisoner. Those people are near and dear to our Lord's heart and He commands us to care for them. But in the process, it's also not ok to neglect those people He's put right here in our path. Most of the people Dan and I encounter on a daily basis are not starving, homeless and destitute -- but they're all people for whom Jesus died and they all need to be shown love.

By the way, here's the carmel apple pie and the picking-of-the-apples. Good, good stuff. Let me know if you want the pie recipe... especially if you intend to use it to love on your neighbors and friends.

They are picking apples but they're thinking about PIE!
Yep, everyone works on the farm

Wagon ride through the apple trees

Apple picking wears out baby girls.


joy said...

Ooooh yes - please send the recipe my way! And I promise to bless my neighbors with a slice - I mean, a pie!

sara said...

oh I needed to read this! I just blew it with one of my friends too...it was awful! I am so wrapped up in our adoption and other ministry things that it seems like the last place my heart and my head are, are in this town.. the Lord has been convicting me of this as well...thanks for the encouragement:)

Anonymous said...

Shelley, I'm Laura Hill's cousin. I'd love to have the recipe. Please forward it through her when you get back and things calm down a bit.