“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.” – Jesus from John 10:27
I’m writing this blog in the middle of the ‘night’ somewhere between Greenland and Iceland over the Atlantic Ocean. I can’t sleep anymore and need a break. I also felt a nudge to write to you all of you back home and at Sheridan.
I’ve had a good flight so far and in the meantime, I have made a new friend on this flight who is sitting next to me. For identity purposes, I’ll call him John. John is married, children, grandchildren. John and I chatted a bit about our final destination. He to Germany, me to Kilimanjaro. We exchanged our purposes for our travel and we got to talking at length about the work of our church in Tanzania. In brief, he was extremely inspired. John shared how for years he and his wife have sponsored Compassion International children. He started that when he traveled to a country in South America. I talked about how I started reaching out on my first trip to Haiti in 2001.
Our commonality in compassion toward the poor began when we both saw a need and shifted our lives to do something about it. We put the accelerator on when we may have been more inclined to hold back. I think that’s pretty neat to have a resonance like this-reaching out to the poor – and sharing that with a complete stranger. Especially in a world riddled with cynicism, violence and so many reasons ‘not to do something.’ And yet, God has a way of unifying us in amazing ways.
My question-wherever you are in your spiritual journey-is this “What is holding you back from hearing the voice of God and following it?” This is a great question to wrestle with daily. Even when we are engaged in some kind of generosity-no matter how small the act-there are always times that we hold back. Maybe we are tired. Maybe we are cynical. Maybe our economic outlook has scaled back for good reasons.
Whatever the reason, the Holy Spirit is always nudging us further along to follow in the footsteps of Jesus just a bit more, or in a new way.
As I get a little closer to Tanzania, and am a bit mixed up with my day and night schedule, this is what I’m praying about.
As I reconnect with our Tanzanian friends, what’s holding me back? From being a friend, from sharing the Love of Jesus, from speaking Swahili-I’m asking God to remove any barriers so that I can experience yet again what it means to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
What’s holding you back? Pray about this and stay open to the Spirit. And let that momentum toward God’s compassion move you forward in a new way. Be free to do something new in service to our Lord. And may we all experience His grace when we do so.