Mission Trip (3 of 3): Serving One Another | Devotions with Dad

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Mission Trip (3 of 3): Serving One Another

For dad only:

The Minimum Amount

by Rev. Franklin Buchanan, II

“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

Matthew 5:41-42 (NKJV)

 

The cost of an item often influences the final selection of a purchase – and rightly so. Our checking account balance (or lack thereof) impacts shopping choices as one pursues the lowest price, the best deal, and the bargain while rummaging through the clearance racks. This search can be costly at times. The process of finding a deal may lead one to accept an item of lesser value or quality. In those moments, when one has shopped and finally dropped without finding a bargain, it is easy to accept a lesser substitute. Maybe the generic brand is selected, the competitor’s product is tried, or the closet restaurant is patronized. In short, something is selected or done just to get by.

In our low-price culture, it is easy to forget that the same mentality can negatively affect our giving to the Kingdom of God and beyond. This minimum mindset surrounds us and infiltrates our generosity. Consider the following: software applications list the minimum hardware necessary, job postings list the minimum experience, credit card statements give the minimum payment due, students inquire about the minimum requirements to pass a class, and the minimum income taxes are often paid.1[1]

It is not being suggested that we unnecessarily eliminate the minimums. However, when was the last time you gave beyond the minimum for anything? Instead of giving five dollars in the church’s offering, you purposely gave ten. The server at the restaurant struggled to keep your glass filled to your satisfaction, but you purposely smiled and gave an additional tip above the suggested minimum. Whether anyone notices or not, giving beyond the minimum has the potential to change you and those around you.

Jesus provided some similar instruction to his followers. He suggested that when one was forced to carry a soldier’s pack, not just carry it one mile (the minimum distance), but go beyond the minimum and carry it two miles (Matt 5:41). Undoubtedly, it appears that His followers were also interested in the minimum requirements. Surprise those around you by giving beyond the minimum. Give a little more, especially when it is unexpected.

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Franklin Buchanan, II, is pastor of Peace Tabernacle, a United Pentecostal Church in Joplin, MO.
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Read this to the kids:

Blessing One Another

Last time, Rusty discovered who was stealing lumber from the church they were  building in Mexico.

 

“What are you going to do?” Misty asked.

Rusty shrugged. “I don’t know. Just don’t say anything yet,” he said. “I want to explain it to Dad.”

When they got back, Rusty only had time to eat quickly and get back to work. He thought about Marco all day. Later, he got a chance to talk to Dad.

“So what has been on your mind?” Dad asked.

“Remember how someone took Grandpa’s cows?” Rusty began.

“Yes.”

“It was the right thing for us to turn the thief over to the cops, wasn’t it?”

“Yes. Why?”

“What if someone takes something and they really need it?”

“They still shouldn’t take it, Rusty.” Dad turned to look him in the eye. “Are you thinking about the church’s lumber?”

Rusty nodded. “I know who took it—I think. But, Dad, he really needs it. That boy I met yesterday, Marco, he lives in a house that does not have a good roof.”

“He still shouldn’t take what doesn’t belong to him.”

“What if I paid for the lumber he took?” Rusty asked. “I want to help his family get a new roof. He probably doesn’t have a dad. He gets food for his family by fishing from the creek. I know what he did was wrong, but I still want to help him.”

“Okay,” Dad said, slapping Rusty on the back, “you do that. But until this job is done, someone has to stand guard so the whole village doesn’t come out to borrow something to fix their leaky roof.”

Rusty smiled. “I know.”

“And,” Dad paused, “I will help you pay for the boy’s roof, too.”

“Thanks. I hadn’t figured out how I was going to do that, yet.”

That night, the college guys took turns staying sitting up for a couple hours each, sitting on the lumber pile. Rusty and Dad got up before the sun and took the last two-hour watch before the team came out to finish the project.

One of the college guys said, “Keep your eyes on the bushes behind the church, we thought we heard someone stomping around back there. Whoever it was went away, though. He probably won’t be back.”

Rusty felt sad, thinking of Marco and how the boy was trying to do something to help his family. Dad and Rusty talked quietly as they watched the sun come up. Soon, they were eating breakfast and then back to work. The day dragged on and on. Finally, they had all the rafters in place and OSB plywood on the whole roof deck.

Rusty was tired and so were all the other workers. As they all put away the tools for the evening, Rusty examined the lumber stack. Only a few boards were left, plus pieces they had cut off other boards. Rusty asked Dad if they needed the rest of the lumber. Dad did not think so and went to talk to the pastor about it.

After everyone had cleaned up and come in for supper, Dad announced the plans for the next day. “The roofing material has been delayed in coming for another day, so we will not be able to put it on tomorrow. Rusty and I have a little project to do tomorrow, but other than that, there is no work to do on the church except the wiring, which only will take a couple of you who know how to do it.

“You young men have been a great help. You are welcome to take tomorrow off to rest or see the area if you like. Or, if anyone wants, they can help us work on a poor child’s home here. I found out from the pastor that Marco, a young neighbor here, lost his father a couple years ago and lives with his grandmother who is in poor health. We are going to help fix their roof tomorrow.”

That evening, Rusty was tired but excited as the Pastor, he, and Dad went to visit Marco. The boy was sitting outside, looking glum.

The pastor began talking to the young man. Marco frowned and looked nervous. He asked many questions.

Rusty said, “We want to help you fix your house—your casa.”

“¿Mi techo?” Marco glanced at the pastor who smiled. Marco looked back at Rusty, saying, “Si, pero…” Then he broke into a long string of Spanish Rusty had no clue about.

The pastor looked at Rusty and said, “He says he feels bad because he took boards from the church.”

Rusty said, “Tell him we forgive him. And we still want to help him.”

Marco listened to the pastor and his face changed from a frown to a smile. Suddenly he spread his arms and gave Rusty a big hug.

Rusty was not prepared for what he felt. Deep inside it was like he had become a part of Marco’s life. Rusty hugged Marco back. Whatever he felt made him laugh and cry all at the same time.

•       •       •

The next day, Rusty and Dad went right to work, tearing out the bad section of Marco’s roof. Rusty taught Marco how to use a hammer. They had the new rafters in place by noon. After lunch, they put up plywood decking and metal roofing. The whole thing was done before supper and Marco was smiling so big his face must have hurt.

Marco’s grandmother came out and said, “Gracias, gracias,” over and over. She spat out a string of other Spanish that neither Dad nor Rusty could understand, but they could tell she was very happy.

•       •       •

The next few days went by quickly. Marco helped the team finish the church roof and Rusty made sure he understood about the special service on Friday night. Marco promised to come.

When Friday came, Rusty saw many, many people crowding into the new church. Already it looked too small. There was still room for everyone and a few more, however, and the people looked excited to have such a nice place to sing and worship God—even if the walls were not finished yet.

Misty said, “Look how everyone is singing and worshiping God already, and church hasn’t even started yet.”

Rusty wondered where they would sit, since the church was so full. Fortunately, they had saved a row near the front for all the workers. Rusty, Misty, Mom, and Dad walked down to the front and sat on the third row which had been reserved for them and the college guys.

As the song service began in full, people were standing and clapping, shouting and dancing to the Lord. Misty tried to focus on the Lord but could not help glancing around frequently at the enthusiastic church members.

The presence of God fell so strongly that everyone just cried out to the Lord and worshipped with all their heart. Even Rusty and Misty stopped paying attention to others and focused on praising Jesus. People came down to the front of the church and two got filled with the Spirit while they were still singing.

When the pastor finally got to the pulpit, he asked Dad to come say a few words and had one of the college students come say something to the congregation. An interpreter translated what Dad said so the people could understand. The college guy knew enough Spanish to speak to the crowd.

The pastor began preaching and people started shouting and jumping up and down. He hardly preached 30 minutes before people were rushing to the front, crying out to God, and worshipping all over again.

The worship lasted another hour before people finally started to leave the new building. Misty and Rusty had never seen anything like this before. It was amazing to see so many people in love with Jesus.

As people thinned out, Rusty noticed a group of people praying with someone in the back of the church. As Mom and Dad led them toward the door, Rusty noticed who they were praying with—Marco! In all the motion, Rusty had forgot to look for his friend. People were all around him and Marco was praying really fast.

The pastor looked at Rusty and shouted, “He got de Holy Ghos’!”

Rusty’s smile got as wide as Marco’s after he had seen his new roof. When Marco finished praying, he hugged Rusty and clung to him, “Tank you, amigo. Tank you.”

Rusty felt that bubble push up in him and he started crying happy tears all over again.

When they had all made it back to the house, Misty said, “Wow! I thought we came here to help these people. I think they have done more for us. I have never had church like that before. Everyone was happy to be there. No one could fall asleep!”

“Maybe this mission trip was not just for us to minister to other people,” Dad said thoughtfully, “but for them to minister to us. I think we should bring this kind of worship back to our church.”

“And we have to come back here and visit again,” Rusty said. “I want to see Marco again—and all the people.”

“Someday,” Mom said, smiling at Dad, “someday, we just might.”

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Now discuss it!

Would you have helped with Marco’s roof or wanted to take the day off for a vacation?

 

Why did Rusty feel like crying when Marco hugged him?

 

How had the construction crew from the states helped minister to the church in Mexico?

 

How had the Mexican believers ministered to the missions team?

 

What do you hope to do in another country some day?

 

Who do you know that you can help, like Rusty and Dad did with Marco?

 

What do you think made the Mexican church more powerful and exciting than what Rusty and Misty had seen?

 

How can your make your church more exciting?

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Read God’s Word together:

Giving More than Expected

 

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

(Luke 14:12-14, KJV)

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

(Acts 4:34-37, KJV)

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Let’s talk about it!

Would you rather have friends over for dinner, or people who really needed food? Why?

 

If you have something someone else needs, do you share with them willingly, or do you prefer to keep it for yourself?

 

Why did the people bring their money to the apostles?

 

Do you give things so people will like you or because you love God?

 

Does it matter why you do good things?

 

Role play: You just got a new bike. Your old bike works well, but you like the new one better. Then, you find out a friend at church does not have a bike. Do you tell him you have two and offer one? Or do you change the subject and forget about it?

 

You go on a picnic at the park and see someone digging in the trash can. Do you hurry and eat your food before they come and beg for some? Why should you talk to your parents before approaching a stranger or giving things away to people?

 

In Matthew 25:34-40, what does Jesus say about doing kind things to people who are having a hard time in life?

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Memorize it!

Proverbs 19:17

He that hath pity upon the poor

lendeth unto the LORD;

and that which he hath given

will he pay him again.


[1] Rodney Shaw. Facets of faith: a practical look at our response to grace. Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame, 1999, 121.

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