Today we had the exquisite opportunity to be a part of the dedication of a water system for a new community built by Rainbow Network. St. Barnabas took no part in building the road to the 25 homes; building or funding of the homes themselves; in the infrastructure that will furnish electricity; or in the water system we were there to dedicate. But we celebrated with singing and dancing and distribution of stipends to the scholarship students in that community. It was jubilation on steroids!
At some point in the middle of it all I had a sucker-punch in my gut. The words rang in my ears over and over and over again from the book of Deuteronomy 6:11-12
10 When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, 11 houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill, 12 take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
The sucker-punch was, that I felt like an imposter. I did not have anything to do with anything that we are experiencing. Nada. Yet here I am, participating in the giving and the sharing and the dancing. Why God? What did I do to deserve this?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing!
But then that is what I have done to deserve every real blessing I have in life! I’ve done nothing deserving to be born in the USA; nothing to deserve the love of Ken Bassford; nothing to deserve the two best adult children anyone could want; nothing to deserve a church home and community. It is all by God’s grace. Every. Single. Bit. And even that – the grace of God – I’ve done nothing to deserve.
I’ll talk more about the interview I did with one of the staff members of Rainbow Network at a later time. But I do want to share one thing she said to me. When I asked her if there was one thing she could change about Nicaragua, what would it be? She said she would change the greed and the jealousy. So that brothers and sisters did not look at each other with a sense of one having more than the other. Instead they would look to each other to help build each other up; determine what the needs of each are; and reaching out to grow up the next generation.
Wow. That notion comes from Acts 2. With mud up to my ankles, in the pouring rain, God introduced me to a new sister in Christ.
I did nothing to deserve a relationship with her, either.
Thank you God, and thank you First UMC, Colombia Missouri. You have blessed Nicaragua and this preacher from Texas!