Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't Limit God

That's one of the many lessons I learned from my recent time in Brazil, visiting my ten Compassion-sponsored children. I have already shared about my time in BR-329 New Life Project. I described it as a little bit of heaven.

They serve 680 kids, many of whom live and work in unimaginable circumstances. Yet this is what I felt and saw when I was there, from both kids and workers:

Life. Energy. Joy. Hope. Freedom. Peace. Achievement. Music. Dancing.

These are things which cannot be acted or manufactured. They were real, pure and genuine.

I am convinced that the reason all these things were present at BR-329 was because these people did not limit God and what He could achieve through them. They did not put Him in a box, or put a roof over Him. Their dreams and vision for that Project and community were huge and inspiring, despite the reality of the poverty outside the walls. This included a two-storey building project that was currently underway, and it was because of their faith and trust that they are doing God's work.

I can't help but compare this to the dreams and visions of most people on this side of the world. The aspirations of  the people with the most education and resources (US) seem to revolve around either being famous (whether for positive or negative reasons) or owning the latest/greatest/biggest/best _______ (insert fleeting material possession here).

Why? Why make your dreams and visions all about yourself? We have one chance to make a difference to the world around us, and the best way to do that is to invest in other people.

On the day I visited BR-329, the teenagers were running around busily preparing for a community party that they had organised and planned entirely themselves. This was incredible to me. Instead of running around the streets doing whatever teenagers in Brazil get up to, they were running a community party.

Compassion is instilling in these teenagers a sense of responsibility and pride in their achievements.
It is silencing the voice of poverty which says to them "You are useless and good for nothing. You will never amount to anything." If what I saw in that place is anything to go by, the future of this community in Brazil is in good hands.

I couldn't help but recall 1 Corinthians 1:26-28. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

Something I continue learning in my unusual lifestyle choice of sponsoring 48 kids is this: If we want to make a lasting impact on other people's lives, all we have to do is step out, and God will use us. He uses the "foolish, small, powerless" (people who come in humility) to shame the wise and achieve far greater things than if we are out on our own, in our own strength.

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