Friday, January 13, 2012

Get the Work Done

Although I’m home from Haiti now, I'm still thinking about my trip. I’ve known Jennifer, or Mommy as she’s called at the orphanage, for years but this was my first time to visit her in Haiti. I’ve heard her stories and imagined her conditions for years, all the while trying to fathom how she is able to accomplish all that she does. In recent conversations and especially while observing her on the trip, I figured it out. In the answer are some lessons for us all.

Do What You Can, Let Go of the Rest

Although I’ve never examined a room she has painted, Jennifer says she's not at all good at the job. So, instead of going ahead and painting rooms when they need it, she has mission teams, like ours, do that job. She understands teaching is not one of her gifts but also knows their children need to be home-schooled rather than attend the local Haitian school. Therefore, she passed that job over to a volunteer intern. On the other hand, she is able to supervise the ins-and-outs of the orphanage in a way few could. Consistent with her gifting, that is how she focuses much of her time and energy. In short, she recognizes her abilities and inabilities; she focuses her time and energy on what she is able to do. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

Accept Help, Offer Help

Other jobs fall into a slightly different category. Jennifer is quite able to prepare meals for the orphans and her family. However, she also recognizes it is too large of a task for one person to do by herself, especially in a country lacking prepackaged foods and take-out restaurants. That's why she has staff cook for the orphans each day and cook for the family two meals a day, five days per week. She knows how to do the laundry for all 37 orphans, plus her family, but knows it is too big of a job for one person. So, again, she has staff do the laundry for the orphans and either she or the staff does the laundry for the family. It's easy to become self-sufficient and even prideful that we can do everything ourselves. This isn't how God intends it to be, though. He desires for us to work together and help one another because life is hard in this corrupted world. Although this verse was written of Phoebe, a first-century helper in the church, I think it fits here as well. “I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.” (Romans 16:2)

Living free and pursuing holiness will be much easier for all of us if we let go of the things which God has not called us to do and only do the things to which He has called us. I guarantee you He won’t give you more to do than you can handle.

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