For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
His name was Scott, and he was doing God stuff in Africa. In my office there is a picture. It shows a group of people under a tree, and it is very apparent that we are not in Kansas anymore. There is a lady dressed in African attire with her hand on the head of an African man. There are four African folks sitting and watching. Next to the man are two men…myself and a man much my junior, Scott. And indeed, he was there doing God stuff. In fact, that is why we were under the tree.
You see, under the tree was a man who said he was possessed by a demon and, needed, wanted, our help. So, we laid hands upon the man asking Creator God, the One that is not bound by time, space or borders, to intervene in this man’s life. Soon, our time was finished. The man was at peace, the other Africans probably mystified by it all and we, the three from another time and place, were grateful for the opportunity to represent God in this hard place called Mali.
So exactly how did two American men so different in starting points, backgrounds, and generations end up under a tree in Africa? Well, it was a God thing. My wife Judy and I have led teams to Africa for years and that’s why we were there. Scott, the younger man, had decided to give up a chunk of his life and go live in Africa to share Jesus with the people there. For some reason, we just hit it off. The common denominator was Jesus and that was enough. Our time together was marked by wandering the various villages where we would visit and tell stories from the Bible to people who had never heard them before. It was profitable…both for them and for us.
Soon, too soon, our time on African soil came to an end and it was time to leave. We talked about another time…perhaps next year. Time came and went and before we knew it…it was next year. That year we were going to do several things, but one thing was new…we were going to do an eye clinic. We would have an eye doctor with us and with a few incredible tools we could test eyes and give away glasses. I took the training to use one of the devices and agreed to work in the eye clinic. And off we went to Africa.
When we arrived, there was my friend Scott. He was excited to see me and was looking forward to wandering the villages and telling Jesus stories with me. I told him that I would be working in the clinic and watched as disappointment filled his eyes. Over the next few days we did clinics and once or twice Scott stopped in to see if I could get away to wander. I told him I couldn’t since I was one of just a few that knew how use the machine. Finally, on our last day of the trip I did manage to sneak away, and we wandered for a few hours, telling stories. And that is when I got it. I had missed an opportunity to use my calling, my purpose, my giftedness. I wasn’t called to check eyes…I was called to wander…and tell stories…of Him. It was a powerful lesson for me.
I still wonder how I missed it that year in Africa and the picture in my office reminds me to be careful not to miss it again. Oh, and that is not only true in Africa…it is true here in my hometown. God made each of us and in His wisdom, He gifts us to make a difference. That is true for people who believe…and people who don’t. All of us are created to make a difference and that is what we need to do. I have found and know that becomes much more powerful when we ask God to come into our lives in a personal and real way…through His Son Jesus.
Someone gave me a small, white plaque that now sits on my desk. It has three words on it, “Trust your purpose.” That too is a reminder for me to be sure and seek and do what God has created for me. Sometimes that looks like wandering and telling stories, but sometimes it is something as simple as being kind or giving someone a break in traffic. We need to find our purpose and then trust that purpose…do what God on purpose created us to do. It says in His Book that we are a masterpiece created by Him and for Him to do the things He planned for us. Trust me, that will make you get out of bed in the morning!
So today, this day, trust your purpose. If God is your Father, trust Him to lead you as you wander today. Not your Father? Well, He would love to fix that. Just ask. And then you can have the confident assurance that He will lead you into some adventures that are bigger and better than you can imagine. Trust me…He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne