May I Serve You, Lord?
(but in Anaheim?)
May I please serve you My King, but my way?
God called me to be a missionary. That is my heart's passion. That is my joy.
Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . I've heard it all before. Serve where planted. Make our neighborhoods, our workplace, our school our mission field. Blah, blah, blah.
After many, many, many prayers (translation: whining and complaining) God heard my mission prayers. Persistent prayers pay off, haven't you heard? God responded by distinctly showing me my mission field - Anaheim.
God must have been distracted when He answered my prayers because He didn't get it quite right.
No God, You called me first to foreign missions, doncha' remember?
Can't you see how we can serve with Phil and Darla in Ethiopia?
Look how compatible we are with the Tebbes. Our kids are buddies; we can serve with them in Ireland?
How about Russia? Ken can teach the adults and I can teach the kids at English camps?
How about Cuba? How about a short trip to Cuba?
To Romania to love the street kids?
To Mexico for a weekend?
Here in Downtown Anaheim we are surrounded by families that do not speak English. Our yard is the closest to a play area other than the streets. Four and five year olds roam the streets late at night without adult supervision. Families often run out of their welfare funds before the end of the month. This is where the "canned food drives" are distributed.
The sandbox, the trampoline, the tree house, and the jungle gym in our yard make this place a kid magnet. We never lack kids wanting to come and play. Surprisingly many older kids also want to hang here.
OK God, if this is it, the least You can do is give me a supernatural ability to love Anaheim.
God, I complained. These kids want to come far more often than I have the ability to watch them. They leave trash everywhere. They use vulgar language and are rude. I find them playing in our yard when we're not home after being asked over and over not to.
"Teach them rules and boundaries."
How often Lord? I repeat myself over and over and they don't show any respect.
"Teach them only as often as I have taught you."
Well, it's not the same !
No, Lord, it's not. These kids aren't likable. Well . . . I guess I'm not either. I lost patience with that lady at the store that snapped at me. My thoughts and actions today haven't been so likable. No, I'm often very un-likable. In fact, now that I think about all I've done, I can't stand myself.
"I love you, Child."
God, they want to use the bathroom all the time, they want drinks, they want snacks. Lord, I'm busy. Dad requires so much time. The kids need me. When was the last time I went out with my husband? And we can't afford to feed them all!
"I gave you the house with the bathroom, money to buy the snacks, and the car to go and purchase the snacks."
That's not what I want to hear. What I want is for You to supernaturally send them elsewhere and only send me the cute polite ones. Only send me the sweet ones that are easy to love and serve. Please send them when I have the house cleaned, outside work done, lemons picked to make a pitcher of lemonade, bake a batch of cookies, and have time to sit with them at the kitchen table to smile and lovingly share how much Jesus loves them - and tell them how much I love Jesus.
"If you love Me, feed My sheep in Anaheim.
Not just when you have the time...
Not just when you feel like it...
Not just the way you see fit..., even if it's just to teach them boundaries.
Serving Me doesn't mean you should say "yes" to everything. It means spending time with Me to know My heart's desire for these kids, what values I desire to instill in them to be equipped for their future.
You'd be amazed what I can do with just a few minutes.
In the future, will these kids reflect back and remember the busy, cranky asian lady, or
will they remember the way you gave them a genuine smile and
allowed them to play for 10 minutes?
This is not only about them. It's also about you being blessed. It's an opportunity for you to learn wisdom, organizational skills, detect opportunities to love, when to say no or yes. It's an opportunity for you to experience My love as you learn to love the unlovable and needy Anaheim. You see, Child, I can use a donkey to accomplish my work in Anaheim but I want to bless YOU by you being my vessel in Anaheim.
Even the wicked can do good and love when all the circumstances are right. Child – don't just love with Thanksgiving Meals or big mission events 2-3 times a year. Love them daily when there is an opportunity to do so. These opportunities won't always be there. Don't miss them now.
I'll take your 'widow's mite of 10 minutes' and do mighty things if you give with a sincere and humble heart."
I'm starting to get a vague idea...slowly understand...begin to recognize...that maybe Anaheim is where God wants me serve Him today.
Reprinted from 2009 with permission by Susan Song Chinn
EDITORS NOTE: If you aren't familiar with the ministry that grew from this act of obedience, ask Pastor Ozzie. You'll be blessed by what God does with the "mite" we give him to use.