"Not What I Expected"
October 17, 2014
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:16-18
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
In my hometown we recently celebrated the National Exposition of Agriculture for Argentina and neighboring countries. In that Exposition, the Lutheran Church of Maciá was given the opportunity to set up a booth for Lutheran Hour Ministries-Argentina. It was my job to organize the materials that would be distributed at the Expo.
As usual, the volunteers for the stand were mostly made up of familiar faces.
Of course, there was the older lady who left our organizational meeting so she could go home. I was upset but not surprised. You see, she is one of those persons who attend worship services but never gives of herself to the Lord's work. At the time I thought to myself how we talk about the importance of the mission, but people like this lady are not interested in helping. They talk a good game, but they never play in that game.
Yes, I was angry with that lady, until the Lord used one of our brochures to teach me an important lesson. The booklet, the one called For the Road ('Para el Camino" in Spanish), spoke about a group of porcupines that was dying because of the freezing winter weather. The narrative spoke of how those porcupines first tried to live together and share their body's heat to help them survive. The second part of the story had them moving apart and back into the cold, because their quills hurt the others.
Eventually, they realized suffering was necessary to survive. They came together again, sharing the body heat and the hurt of their thorns.
Through that story God helped me understand we need to be careful of how we feel about, and judge, our neighbors. All too often rash and unfair judgments cause us to hurt one another. Even more, when such judgments enter our hearts, we put up a roadblock to our receiving and sharing the forgiveness our Savior has won for us on Calvary's cross and at the empty tomb.
After the Exposition, I went to visit that lady ... just to try and know her better.
Sharing some materials, we talked about mission and the Lutheran Hour Ministries' booth at the Exposition.
I was surprised to hear her confess that each night she had prayed for all of us who had been working at the booth and other mission projects. More than that, she had made some special offerings, which were specifically given to fund that work.
I was ashamed for having judged her without knowing her -- or the truth.
The Holy Spirit took me to a place of repentance where I said, "Sorry, Lord," and then He led me to a place of joy where I was able to say, "Thanks, Lord, for this lady, others like her, and the entire family of faith in Christ."
Because of Jesus' sacrifice we have forgiveness and peace with God, and we also can have peace with each other. More and more I see that peace is possible when it is based on the forgiveness of sins that Jesus Christ, our Lord, obtained for us. Because of Him, with confidence we can go forward and preach the Gospel to others who do not know the forgiveness that comes through the cross.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You have adopted us as Your children through Baptism. Keep us in Christ, our Lord, and guide us with Your Holy Spirit to the communion with Christ in faith and with our neighbor in love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: The author of today's international devotion introduces himself this way: "My name is Roberto Alejandro Weber. I'm from a little town called Maciá in the Entre Ríos District of Argentina. Now I'm studying at Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires. This is my last year at seminary. My family lives in Maciá. I have two brothers and three sisters. My mother is a nurse, and my father is a mechanic. I served as volunteer at LHM-Argentina, and actually I still do, but not as regularly as I once did." Established in Buenos Aires in 1947, LHM-Argentina (known in-country as Fundacion Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones) connects with communities in many ways. This ministry center works closely with the Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA), along with its seminary and congregations. It does this through a joint mission program. Using LHM's Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), Project JOEL (a youth outreach program), print media, radio broadcasts, text messaging, and the Internet, it shares the Gospel and empowers believers in this South American country of 42 million people. This ministry center also works closely with the Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA) and its seminary and congregations via a joint mission program. To learn more about what's going on in Argentina, click here to visit its blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries