K and M are ready for Christmas in Asia. K writes, “This is a very busy season as we are having lots of Christmas parties for all of our friends at the five different campuses we are at. It is a great chance for our team to work together so that many students can hear the gospel. We are finding that even though this season is difficult because we are missing our families and traditions, it is more exciting than it has ever been back in America, getting to share the true meaning of Christmas with so many! It is definitely the most meaningful Christmas season I have ever had! So we are very blessed to have this opportunity and also that we have an amazing team to labor and to laugh with. Sometimes we think, this can’t really be a job, it's just too much fun. I guess we will all just have to come back for another year...”
Last month K got the chance to visit some of the springs which their city is famous for with a group of seven students from Management, one of the smaller campuses they are on. (These springs are the most famous in Asia... perhaps the world.) K says, "It was cool because a few days earlier I was able to share my testimony and the gospel with all eight girls in their room! One girl, Jane, was especially interested and told me that she used to have a bible until her parents took it away… I had a great time at the springs with these beautiful girls and was able to build deeper relationships with them. This month I hope to start an investigative bible study with them. I am praying that God will move in each of their hearts and give them the grace to know Him, and be in them a “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:19).
I just got back from South Africa and it made me think of M. Back at Copper, we compared notes of our first mission trips that both happened to be in Kenya. Our mouths watered as we recalled some Kenyan dishes. (M, I ate something similar to ugali last week.) M went to Kenya as a SHERPA (acronym I created for Servant-hearted Enthusiastic Reliable Personal Assistant) for this pastor. When I was in Kenya, M was less than 2 years old.
Speaking of being less than 2 years old and a SHERPA, let's look again at Samuel but earlier when he first comes on the scene. His mother Hannah desperately prayed for the Lord to remember her and give her a son. She made a vow that she would give her son to serve the Lord all his life. So once she weans little Sammy she takes him to Eli to serve in the tabernacle. She prays a prayer that includes this which I found myself praying this past week... "(The Lord) raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's; upon them he has set the world."
So here's little Sammy who can barely walk if all and probably speaks gibberish being the littlest SHERPA before the Lord. Sometime after he learned to talk and went by the more formal Samuel, God speaks to him in the night. You know this story from Sunday School so I don't need to tell it. But look closely at the final call found in I Samuel 3:
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.' "So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
God showed up and spoke to him. This chapter starts by saying that 'in those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.' Maybe the word was rare because few listened. Eli sure didn't in fact that seems to be why God wakes up Samuel.
"Speak for your servant is listening." All his life this was Samuel's posture. He invited God to speak to him. He listened. He obeyed. Obedience was big to him. Think of what he told Saul. Samuel was a man who knew that to be a leader, he first needed to be a SHERPA. He needed to be someone who knew who the real King was and that he was His servant.
May this be our posture. Maybe God wants to wake us up and tell us something. Maybe He has something big for us to believe him for. Maybe He wants us to display His glory in a way or to people we haven't even thought of.
Tonight as Eli told Samuel... "Go lie down (in the 'temple of the LORD', where the ark of God is) and if He calls you say 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.' "