Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a modern day parable

Starr and I are safely in Lusaka after a tearful goodbye to our friends in the village. I'll try to share more about that in an other post. For now I want to share this story with you:

On Friday afternoon we had a farewell party at the Mango Tree. Starr really wanted to throw the party so she invited about 50 guests and had her friends cook enough food to feed everyone. We ran around all day getting everything together. When the time came for the dinner only about 20 guests showed up. After we ate we realized that there was still an abundance of food left because we prepared enough for 50 people. I suggested that we go find some hungry kids, so we left the Mango Tree and headed amongst the huts in search of hungry children. When we’d spot kids we’d ask them, “Are you hungry” to which every single one replied, “Yes!” Then we told them to go to the Mango Tree and we would feed them. Most of them waited for us to finish gathering more kids before going to the Mango Tree. They were probably a little unsure of what was going on. Finally we headed towards the Mango Tree with a group of smiling kids circled around us, some holding our hands.

We entered the Mango Tree and I began to wash their hands, as is custom here in Zambia before you eat. We set out big bowls of the food so they could share it amongst themselves. As the kids stared at the food with their big eyes an older kid reminded them that they needed to pray so all the kids bowed their heads and thanked the Lord for the food. Once amen was spoken they dove in like birds in search of food after the rain. As I watched those kids eat my heart was overwhelmed. I allowed myself to think about what was taking place and remembered what the Lord spoke to me as we were running through the village searching for kids. I remembered a scripture in the bible where Jesus is eating dinner with some Pharisees and he shares with them some principles of the kingdom of God. It’s found in Luke 14. In verses 15-24 Jesus shares a parable with them about a man who was preparing a feast and he invited many guests. When the banquet was ready the invited guests didn’t show up. They each had their own excuse and the man who threw the banquet sent his servants out into the streets and told them to gather up the poor and bring them in.

Once I allowed this all to sink in all I could do was cry. I literally felt like I was living out a story that Jesus had shared so many years ago. Since I’ve been in Zambia I’ve been reading through the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and I’ve been asking the Lord to give me moments like the ones in some of the stories Jesus told. God answered my prayer 2 days before I left. I’m still overwhelmed by the whole situation and what God has spoken to me through it. I really understand what Jesus was trying to say. I received so much joy in seeing those children fed and I got a glimpse of the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom doesn’t shut out the poor, but invites them in as guests without expecting to receive anything in return. We have so much to learn!

In that moment I saw heaven colliding with earth and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. How the Father must be longing for His children to experience more of those moments; moments where heaven and earth come together in such a way to provide life and love and hope to those who need it most. I pray that God would give you opportunities to create those “collision” moments in your life to impact those around you!


Ruth Witmer said...

Oh my Gosh, I am so crying right now. God's love is amazing, may He leave His Spirit hovering over that village and in those children and transform lives, in Jesus Name.
What an awesome experience. I pray this experience remains with you forever!

Keshet said...

It is so humbling when God chooses to reveal Himself to us in such amazing ways. I am so touched by your experience and thrilled that you were able to live this.

Grammy Jean said...

What a tremendous blessing to experience God's presence in such a way, God is so awesome and to think how much he loves us is overwhelming. What a life changing experience you have had!