Several weeks before I left for Armenia, one of my friends at church suggested I prepare to share at our September ladies’ fellowship meeting some insights from my mission trip. It would have been simple to give a report about our activities, but I had to think a little deeper about what God had taught me during those three weeks.
Here’s what I shared about things I either learned or was reminded of:
- Good hospitality has very little to do with the size of your home, the fanciness of
your dishes or the amount of food in your fridge. It has to do with being willing to open up your busy schedule and let someone else into your time and space, focusing on them for a while instead of on yourself. (See Romans 12:13 and 1 Peter 4:19.)
- Joy, courage and hope have little to do with your physical health, the amount of money in your wallet, your job stability or the current circumstances of your life. They have to do with how much you trust God and believe in His promises, how willing you are to obey without conditions, and how loose your attachment is to anything the world offers.
- It’s never a bad idea to share the gospel with someone and to challenge them to consider eternity and their relationship with God. Many people are much more ready to hear the gospel than we might assume they are. If they’re not interested, they’ll tell you. But if they are, you will be glad you acted! (See 1 Peter 3:15 and 1 Thessalonians 2:8.)
- You can’t carry everyone’s crosses; you are only called to carry your own. This was a message my father emphasized a few times in conversations with people. Yes, the Bible tells us to bear each other’s burdens, but to the extent that we offer support and encouragement to someone who is struggling or hurt. . . not to the extent that we try to solve problems that only God can help them with.
- Families are of utmost importance and we must work hard to nourish and protect them. I interviewed a village pastor for an article I’m working on and he said something I’d never thought of before: When God created Adam and Eve, there was only the family—not a nation, and not a church. It was later that He established a nation and much later a church. Any nation and church can be strong if its families are strong. And the first family that must be strong is the pastor’s family; that helps the other families in the church be strong through good leadership and a good model. We need to pray for our pastors, our leaders and their families! [Note: October is Pastor Appreciation Month!]
- I also picked up an interesting metaphor from this same pastor: Christians may all be sheep, but some of us don’t produce wool, milk or meat. Jesus, our Shepherd, doesn’t need pets. He wants sheep who are willing to follow and obey Him. . . and be productive!
What are some things God has taught or reminded you of lately? I’d love to hear from you!