Enough for One Life

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:45 PM

When Tom and Libby Little were married they had a mutual desire; to serve God. Libby said, “We did feel we wanted to serve God with our lives when we were married. We wanted to serve him. We didn’t know what that meant.”

What that meant for them was spending 33 years serving the people of Afghanistan as medical missionaries. They combined their skills at the time, Tom’s optical skills and Libby’s teaching skills to serve God in one of the most poor and dangerous places in the world. Let us hear from Libby again, "We went, and we thought it was going to be two years, and it was 33," Little said."We loved the people.... The Afghan people were wonderful, absolutely wonderful to us.”

Unfortunately all quotes about their work together must come from Libby these days. Tom lost his life while serving the Afghanistan people just a few weeks ago in a senseless and brutal attack by The Taliban. Tom and Libby’s life together has much to say to us in the area of servant hood, let’s pause for a moment and learn from their life.

Let’s face it; if Tom Little had never been killed the chances are great that we would have never heard of him. That is often if not always the case for people who serve God. They do not serve for recognition; they do so because as Libby put it ‘they wanted to serve God with their lives.’ The greatest servants often serve under the radar and always they serve for their God not to be in the local paper or ten o’clock news.

They had a desire, serve God. God had a place Afghanistan. If our desire is really to serve God then it matters little where, what really matters is ‘will we’. It might lead us to a rural landscape with great need or to a metropolitan area with its slums or to the suburbs that face the dangers of affluence. It matters not where, a servant goes.

Dig deep in Libby’s quote and you will find a very important set of words, ‘with their lives.’ Serving God is not a short term idea. It is not a trip to some faraway place that makes us feel good about ourselves it is about our lives, each moment of it. God may call us to a short term mission trip but He more importantly calls our lives to be on mission.

Finally as we examine these ordinary folks who served God in an extraordinary way let’s look at the motivation that lead them to stay at it 33 years. Again let us dig into Libby’s quote and if you do you will find these words, ‘We loved the people…” Perhaps it is your neighborhood where you grew up or the place in which you work, no matter where God sends you, to do it well and to last at it you must have a Christ like love for whom God allows you to serve.

The danger in using someone like Tom and Libby to speak on servant hood is the extraordinary circumstances of his death, but the real lesson is found in the ordinary nature in their service. Bottom line is we are all called to serve, some in big places, some in small out of the way places, but all called.

What makes Tom and Libby special and different in the world in which we live is not where they served but that they chose to serve at all. In a world that believes blessings are found in what we have they found true blessings in who they served; first God, then His people. Those same blessings can be found by all of us, if we choose to serve.

In closing let’s look at the perspective of Libby Little concerning the life with her husband, “"We had 40 wonderful years together -- of serving together, all those years, doing what we thought we should do. And that's enough for a life."

“And that’s enough for a life” indeed it is for those who choose to serve.

Scripture: Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, May we seek to give our lives in to you. Guide us to our place that you have set aside for us to shine your light. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

The Triumph of the Broken

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Monday, August 9, 2010 at 4:27 PM

As I mentioned in an earlier devotional, I coach a YMCA baseball team. Now, I need to let you know that Y baseball is a little different than the city leagues. The Y baseball is not quite as good as city baseball. The kids that play at the Y could not always get to play in the city. Oh, some are pretty good, but many have never played before and are not the greatest. That’s okay, and really it is one of the things I like about it. With that knowledge in hand, that brings us up to last Saturday.

On my team is a little boy who has very little hearing, Blaine. His condition is hereditary. His father has the same hearing problem. As a matter of fact, with the help of modern medicine, they were both able to hear sounds for the first time at the same time. That must have been a special moment. Boyd tries hard and really is a pretty good hitter, but he cannot hear a thing I say most of the time. Before each at bat I have to stand in front of him to give him instructions. It is the only way I can know for sure that he hears what I say.

On my team is also a young boy who has just the slightest of palsy. His name is Tyler. You can only tell it when he tries to run real hard. If you didn’t know, you would thing he was not trying to run his hardest. Instead he is running as fast as his legs will allow him to. The effort is there, the body won’t always cooperate. He is a great young boy with a sweet heart and a joy to be around. But in athletics he will have to work harder than anyone else to be able to keep up.

On the opposing team last week there was a young boy of great courage. He stood at the plate with crippled legs and crutches under each arm. He would swing and do his best to make contact. When it was time to run, off he would go on his crutches. Out in the field he maneuvered himself in an amazing way in attempting to field the ball. I spoke to his dad and he said he tells his boy every day how impressed he is with his courage and drive. In watching his son just for the afternoon, I had to agree with him.

In the city league these guys wouldn’t have a chance, but at the Y, well, great things can happen to the broken. It was a great game; we got behind early but hung in there and made a charge at the end. With the game on the line, Tyler gets a hit and keeps the game going.

Then, with the pressure on, Blaine gets the game-winning hit (his second hit of the day!) and drives in the winning run who happens to be Tyler. I had to tell Tyler he was the game winning run, and I am not sure Boyd ever heard the cheers of the crowd. At the end of the game we awarded Boyd the game ball for his clutch hitting. I said some words of encouragement, but I doubt seriously that Boyd heard a word of it. By the proud look on his parents’ faces, they surely did.

Saturday was the day for the broken to win, for the unlikely hero to have his day. I floated off into the rest of my day; it could not get any better than this. That is what I love about Y ball and that, by the way, is what I love about God. With God the broken have a chance. In fact with God the broken can’t lose. As a matter of fact, God specializes in using the broken to do great things. God used Moses, a murderer and really not that good a speaker, to deliver his people. Paul, a former persecutor of the church and with his ‘thorn in the flesh’ in tow, becomes the greatest missionary the world is to know. Jacob, the trickster, wrestles with God, ends up with a limp, gets a name change, and becomes the father of a nation. The list could go on and on.

If you know God, then the list includes you. At one time, at one moment, you were broken, perhaps that day is today. Maybe you’ve gotten behind in life and a comeback seems unlikely. Oh, but remember, you serve a God of the unlikely that specializes in the triumph of the broken. Remember the game’s not over until the last broken soul reaches home base. There the God of the broken will be waiting for you, loving arms reaching out to welcome you home.

Scripture: Mark 10:27, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Prayer: Lord, we thank you that you love us in spite of our brokenness, that you use us in spite of our imperfections. Help us to lean on you and to acknowledge that with you all things are possible. In the sweet name of Christ, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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