Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What have we done to "the least" ? part 3

In my own meager attempts to serve "the least", I've been so quick to "fix" their problems, or what I thought was their problem, that I have unknowingly undervalued them.  I've communicated in my actions and attitude that my education, experience, money and even my country, made me an "expert" on solving their problem.  I am thankful for God's grace in these situations, for he knows I was acting out of ignorance.  Yet, now that I know, I repent of my foolish pride.

I pray that I will embrace this truth in my inner most parts--to depths of my being:  Everyone has some ability, and skill that we can learn from.  Everyone.  We often have to help "the least" to see their value and worth.  We have to help them to see that they have gifts, abilities and skills that the world needs--that our church body needs.  We value others when we recognize what they have to give to us and others, when we consider their ideas, and their analysis of a situation.  They have something unique and wonderful to bring to the discussion. We are able to see a fuller picture of what's really going on, and how to solve a problem.   It's not that we have nothing to give them.  It's just that we rarely give "the least" the opportunity to give to us.

We begin by listening, and asking lots of questions.  Questions enable us to understand the challenges that "the least" face.  It enables us to discover their skills and abilities.  It enables us to know them. Don't be afraid of questions.

We must use every opportunity to build up "the least".  We must give them positions of significance that allow them to use the skills they have.  Provide lots of encouragement and support.  Walk beside them every step of the way, reassuring them that they can do it!  They need to know we believe in them. They need patience and lots of grace.  If they fail, they need our reassurance that it's ok.  We all fail.  This is how Jesus recruited His followers.   He didn't choose the qualified.  He qualified those whom He chose.  They didn't choose Jesus.  He chose them.  He walked beside them every step of the way, preparing them for a great mission.  He trusted them to fulfill this mission by the power of the Holy Spirit. We too can trust "the least" with great responsibilities.  They too can fulfill these great things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And we can't wait for "the least" to come to us.  Like Jesus, we must go to "the least".  We must tell them, "I see something wonderful in you."  "I believe in you."  "Now come and lead this ministry". "Come and teach class."  "Come and join me on this mission."  "You can do this." 

We must be intentional  about affirming their God-given worth, value and purpose. We must ask God to give us eyes to see them as He sees them.  Then we must help them to see the truth about who they really are.  Remember, "the least" are constantly being bombarded with messages that tell them all the reasons they can't do anything of significance. 

Allow "the least" to serve you.  It's puts you in a position of humility.  When I receive from someone, I am communicating that I have a need that must be met.  The person who gives is always in a position of power.  Receiving puts us in a  place of weakness.  In order to receive, I must admit that I am deficient in some way.    Remember, the God of the Universe, who lacks nothing, receives from us.  He delights in receiving from us, though He needs nothing.  Receiving is a way of blessing another.  It acknowledges that they have something of worth to give.

When we lift up others, we too are lifted to greater heights.

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