Monday, December 9, 2013

No Greater Love

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Jesus Christ speaks here of sacrificial love.

For us, this has been a month of being immersed in, filled with, and overwhelmed by examples of sacrificial love.

God has called us to leave our beloved Swaziland to move to Nelspruit, South Africa to serve. I am eager to go wherever He calls, yet there is a price to be paid as my heart feels like it is being ripped apart as I say goodbye over and over to friends (really, sisters and brothers) here. I feel my pain; I feel their pain as my clothing literally becomes saturated with our mutual tears as we cling together sobbing.

In the midst of all this, we grieve the loss of Nelson Mandela, a man celebrated worldwide for his many acts of sacrificial love.

What astounds us, humbles us, and renders us speechless, however, is the outpouring of gifts from those who cannot afford to even feed themselves or their families. One group of “my” ladies from a Bible study we hold in a village simply called “Section 19” gave a going away party for us. These women live in mud huts with no electricity, and no clean drinking water, and subsist almost entirely on corn meal. Their entire community was ravaged last weekend by a huge storm that hit our area and many homes were severely damaged.

Yet three days later, these precious women pooled their meager resources and gave us a party neither of us will ever forget. They bought gifts, wrapping paper (toilet paper is a rare luxury for them), and food. They had an entire planned program with a master of ceremonies, speeches, singing, the gift presentation, and what was a very special feast. They continued to pour out their hearts of gratitude for “all we have done for them.” Oh, that there was some way I could make them understand that they have done SO much more for us.

God has so transformed their hearts with His outpouring of love that it is spilling over to others in extreme generosity. We know they will “do without” because of what they've done for us. But, as a fellow missionary pointed out to me when I tearfully reported the story, their rewards in Heaven will be great. And I for one will be joyously standing on the sidelines, cheering and clapping, as they receive their crowns to place at our Lord's feet.

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