Over the past week our church has demonstrated what God can do when God’s people are obedient. And that, as we said in worship on Sunday, is exactly how we must look at the events that unfolded in the aftermath of the Creek County wildfire. While our church may have gotten some attention and many pats on the back; while individuals may have received compliments or attention in the media; nothing that was accomplished here was done through our power…Everything done here was because of God’s clear involvement and constant presence with us. As Dick Ford said on Sunday morning, this should be our witness – that God made it possible for the people of this church to be the hands and feet of Jesus. God made it possible for the many volunteers from other churches across the area to answer the call to help. Only God could have brought the incredible generosity of the people into play that enabled us to give so much clothing, food, and supplies to so many deserving people. ONLY God could make this happen – not me, or you, or anyone else who was involved – we were all in this because God called us to it and we were simply obedient.
There are so many wonderful stories that we could share about the many people who came through our doors during this time. Every story is touching and testifies to why this mission was so important. Each piece of this particular puzzle fell into its perfect place just as God intended. The stories pulled it all together and made the picture complete as we all began to realize what God was doing here. I truly believe that this was as much a wake-up call for the church as it was a blessing for those we served. It is a powerful reminder of who we are called to be as Christians and what really matters to God.
We are not the focus of what God calls us to; “the other” is our focus. It doesn’t matter that we are tired or cranky or inconvenienced…God tells us to push through all of that to tend to the flock. More than once we were forced to realize that what we thought should be done was not what God had planned. More than once we were reminded that our self-centeredness and our petty problems pale in comparison to the laments of those who have lost everything. We all are blessed to be a blessing and we must never forget that.
The other thing we must remember is that we are imperfect human beings. In spite of our efforts to follow God’s leading, we made mistakes. We now call upon God to help us identify our mistakes and work to improve so that the next time we are called to serve we can do better. Listen for God’s voice as we de-brief and regain our energies over the next few weeks. Listen for words of wisdom that will help us be better missionaries in the future. That truly is who we are – missionaries – and we cannot do it without the love and grace of God leading us forward.
Here is what our mission to the fire victims looked like: