It was a busy day. I was determined to finish preparing a large art project for my kids before 5pm, in order to have an undistracted phone conversation with a very dear friend from home.
I kept hearing a whisper.
“Read my Word. Get in my Word. Study my Word.”
After the went on for some time, I realized that my Daddy wanted to teach me something. Why else would He be so persistent? He knew that my art project was important, but He also knew that the lesson He prepared for me would change me forever.
Although I was frustrated in the setback of my work, I opened my bible in great anticipation of the beauty that was to be revealed. I didn’t open to anything specific. I just opened it and sat there. After a few minutes had passed, I asked God, “What would you like for me to read?” He was very quick to respond.
I began to read Luke 10, and I was immediately impacted by the words I was reading. I kept reading and He kept touching my heart. I then approached Luke 10:25
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I was so touched by this. I just sat there, feeling the weighty presence of the Lord. Then I remembered, God had something very specific for me. I stated very simply, “Teach me, Lord.”
If we ask Him to teach us, He will never say no. He will simply ask that you listen.
He began speaking to me about all the ones that are on the streets here in Kigali. They stretch out their hands and they ask for money. They yell “Mzungu!” as I walk by, in hopes of me giving them the large amounts of money they believe to be in my possession. God asked me to think about my actions towards them. I began thinking of all the times I simply walked past them without even looking them in the eyes. I think to myself, “I don’t even have enough money for myself and my kids. I simply cannot give anything to you.”
God spoke to me and said, “Laura, you always have something to give. It is called mercy. I want you to show mercy to each one. It is not an option, it is my commandment to you.”
It was then that I realized God only ever asked me to love. He asked me to love with all of my heart and in the most outrageous ways possible. I may not always have spare change in my pocket, but I do always have extra love, overflowing from the depths of my heart. Perhaps some of them only want the money, but I believe that deep inside, most of them want the love.
He kept speaking to me.
“Laura, the one in front of you is the one I have called you to. If you cannot love one, how can you love thousands?”
Wow. I was humbled beyond what words can express. How true is this? We are so quick to think of all of the outrageous things we can do and the ridiculous things we can accomplish. We are so quick to dream big. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to dream big, and I do it on a daily basis, but I never want to be so caught up in my dreams that I forget the now. You see, there is probably someone right in front of my face, in the now, that needs my mercy.
This was so pivotal for me. Some days I get so discouraged and I think, “When will my ministry really happen? When will I make a difference?” On one recent occasion, I asked the Lord, “When will I see the big picture?”
He responded, “Laura, if you could see the big picture, you would be distracted from the ones in front of you. And if even if there was no big picture, the ones in front of you would be worthy of your time and love.”
So here I am. I don’t know much except that I am hungry for His heart. I want it so bad. I want to be near to Him and His love. The best place to find that is in the ones right in front of me. So I will stop for every one, and I will remember that He is strategic in all His ways. I will pour His love out to the one in front of me, as if they were the only person alive.
Somehow, I believe that is the big picture.