He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom He loved. Selah.” ~ Psalm 47:4
The Lord has been so gracious to allow me to be in His presence in places where He has chosen to show up through His signs, wonders and miracles. I know I am blessed and that He has used these times and situations to increase my faith. I have seen miracles of healing, miracles of food multiplied. I have experienced and seen deliverance from depression and anxiety and addiction. I long for the day that those that are God’s own children will not be as those from Jesus’ hometown, expecting so little and so receiving and seeing little of God’s power in their lives and communities.
After a wonderful Sunday where God moved through our church so mightily, I have been pondering His call on my life and how to apply His Word. I know now in part what God can do through prayer and I am confident in the Word and that He can do infinitely more….but there are times when I wonder how it will all come to pass in my own life since the roadblocks and closed doors and the “waiting” seems endless. Will I go to my grave reminding myself of what I have seen but wondering if I ever will again…and if not, why? Will these roadblocks turn out to actually be the steps to what has been prepared? Though I am a person that is pretty focused most days and committed still I wonder a lot.
I was thinking along these lines Monday morning and I felt my Father pose a question to me. He told me upfront that it was hypothetical but to take it seriously nonetheless. The question was this…Excluding praise and worship, reading my Bible and prayer and excluding all other human opinion, if I could do only ONE ministry for Him all the days of my earthly life, what would I do and why?
It was early so I had the time at 4:30am to ponder, but it wasn’t necessary. I immediately knew my answer. If I could only do one thing of service — I would feed the hungry. I know you may think I am talking feeding the hungry spiritually and that is there but I am actually mostly talking in the physical. I would feed the hungry real solid food and pray that God, in His mercy, would give me also opportunity and ways to feed them spiritually as He saw their need, and mine.
Because long before He told me to preach or pray, He told me “you give them something to eat” from Matthew 14:16, Mark 6:19, and Luke 9:13. When God spoke this to me, it was one of the first times I ever heard God speak directly to me through His written Word. It stuck with me. On looking over those years, I have found that from my obedience to “you give them something to eat” has come most of the miracles, signs and wonders that I have been allowed to see and from obedience to that command, I have been given opportunity to share the Word and pray with people and I have been able to see people saved. Real true lasting fruit. From obedience to that command, I have met people that live in their cars and in the woods and I have met former CEOs driving BMWs but arriving as hungry as the poorest of the poor. I have also met hungry ministers. I have been allowed to minister to those that have given their lives for the Gospel but found themselves being fed through my hand but in that moment of divine appointment (and I believe that is what it was), I found them there feeding me in such beautiful ways. Truly I tell you, from obedience to that command “you give them something to eat” I, myself, was fed and sustained by God and felt the presence and LOVE of GOD HIMSELF through them toward me. It was never just me allowing the love of God through me. He gave me love through them. I thought it was something I would be allowed to do forever…but then the season changed.
I find myself now in a season where this kind of ministry seems to have almost dried up for me and while I try to press on and I preach here and there, pray and try to remain faithful in what I am given for the now- there are days I still grieve for that season that was. Not because I miss a ministry or a place that once was so much…but because I miss the people and what they brought into my life. I miss the faith that desperation brings into a people. I miss the mutual need. God transformed my heart of prejudice and gave me love and understanding. He took my lonely heart and He gave me compassion and ears to hear theirs. In return so many of the people also accepted me and loved me. Once a month, as they were allowed to come for food, I was friend or mama or prayer partner. They were daily in my prayers and that kind of prayer always creates bonds. I look for them even still when I drive the streets of Gastonia and I am so hopeful when I don’t see them out there on a cold day. I made it a point to know their names, their children’s names, and their situations. I made it a point to know their hearts. I miss their hearts. I miss their hugs. I miss their stories. I miss how they bonded to others and how they helped their neighbors. They were rich in ways I think few know. They taught me more about ministry than I ever knew they were.
A verse that struck me this morning in these early hours with the Lord is this: Psalm 47:4, “He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom He loved. Selah.” I have always loved that promise. I have always asked the Lord for the nations but my inheritance is His choice. When someone leaves you an inheritance it is their choice as to what they leave each person. The poor and the poor in spirit are my inheritance…this I know.
I admit Monday morning I couldn’t grasp how God wants me to take care of this inheritance He has left me. But then….
Monday I had the opportunity to go to the food bank for Thanksgiving turkeys. Yesterday I had the opportunity to work in the food pantry straightening and stocking shelves. Today, Lord willing, I have the opportunity to help give Thanksgiving boxes to those that come to our pantry. Lord, send us the hungry, that we might be your hands and feet and give them something to eat.
Selah! [pause, and calmly think of that]