Monday, February 16, 2015

Humbled at the Vineyards

Last Monday 3 or 4 young men from our church, a fellow missionary and 2 of my kids and I went off to a local vineyard where each week we present a Christian movie and then the gospel message to the Migrant workers there who come from Southern Mexico.  Little did we know, God had something in store for us that we could never have expected.
After the movie which depicted the chat that the strangers on the road to Emaus might have had with Jesus after his resurrection, I presented the message of salvation for the 50 or so Migrant Workers who were there listening.  After I finished speaking, we handed out some tracts, transferred a few audio bibles and handed out a few regular bibles, we were prepared to leave.  That is when an older man came up and asked for a bible.  As we handed it to him he explained how much this bible meant to him.  He said he had been waiting for a bible for 30 years!  I found that hard to believe but even if he had been waiting for 10 years!  Wow.  What a privilege to be able to hand this man a bible!  But that wasn't all that God had in store for us that night.  
A young man came up to me and explained that he was a Christian.  He was from the state of Chiapas which shares a border with Guatemala.  He said that his family in Chiapas was waiting for him to save some of his wages from laboring in the vineyards and send some back to them.  The problem is that he was only able to save 34 pesos a day, the equivalent of about $3 Canadian.  Hardly enough to send back home.  That is when he asked me to pray for him and the tears started to roll down his cheeks.  Then he handed me a folded up piece of paper.  He said that out there at the vineyard he was isolated and didn't have the opportunity to go to church.  He was thankful that we had come and shared the word of God and had encouraged him.  He said his "offering or tithe" was inside the folded piece of paper he had handed me.  I asked if I could open it up and he said yes.  
When I saw what was inside the piece of paper I must admit that all of a sudden I wanted to run away.  I didn't want to be there, didn't want to accept the money, didn't want to be responsible for such a weight.  He had given the Lord (via me) 100 pesos - the equivalent to about $8.50 Canadian or for him, 3 days wages.  All the while his family was waiting for him to send them money.  I wanted to convince him not to give it to me.  I wanted to tell him that he needed it, that his family needed it.  I really didn’t want that money.  I asked him if he was sure that God wanted him to give me this money as a tithe.  He said yes.  I didn’t believe him.  I didn’t want to believe it, more than anything I didn’t want to be responsible for the tithe.  I asked him again if he was sure that he was sure.  Again, without hesitation he said yes.  I felt like God said to me that if He was the one who told this young man to do this, then I had better accept it. 

So I did the only thing I could do, I accepted it and prayed for him.  We wept together as I crouched before him.  I crouched there because I felt less than he.  I felt so humbled by his faith.  He was openly weeping as he handed me 3 days wages, not being able to save a substantial amount to send back to his family, but believing the God of the universe was more than able to meet his need and that of his family. 
As a missionary I am on the receiving end of many blessings, my family and I are the recipients of many dollars from friends and family who by their giving sustain us.  I must say though, of all the hundreds and thousands of dollars we have received over the years, that $8.50 was likely the largest gift I have ever received.  It is not for me or my family, but rather intrusted to me (a stranger to this young Christian) to use as I see fit for the Lord and His purposes.  I am praying about what to do with that amazing gift as it sits on my desk at home. 

So, what is God saying to you through this story that I was privileged to be a part of?  Do you give to God only from your abundance?  Have you ever given to God what you really needed, believing that He is more than able to provide for your need?  Have you ever given to Him when it didn’t make sense humanly speaking?  Have you ever experienced God like this? 
Let me challenge you with this.  Psalm 34:8 tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”  Do you give God the opportunity to show you how good He tastes?  Or do you shrink back from extending yourself for God because it doesn’t make “good sense”?  For this young Mexican Christian to give me 3 days wages as an offering to the Lord when he obviously needed the money, well that makes no sense.  It makes no sense at all, unless of course the one who makes the offering knows the one to whom he offers the sacrifice.  This young man showed great faith and I believe God will reward him greatly for obeying, even when it didn’t make sense.  That is how we taste and see that the Lord is good! 
Next time you feel God nudging you to do something that doesn’t make sense (related to money or not), don’t shrink back, don’t explain it away as not making sense and thus lean on your own understanding.  Obey God, do it and taste and see that the Lord is good!
We are heading out again tonight (and each Tuesday and Friday) so please pray for this ministry!      

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