We walked through a muddy chicken coop with scattered, broken bricks and a smoldering fire to the left. We had to duck our heads to enter the humble, stick-like structure. Inside were an elderly African lady and her teenage granddaughter. That’s all I remember about that particular house visit. I’m sure we prayed for them. Was there salvation, healing, or breakthrough? I can’t say.
While my friends were ministering, my mind was preoccupied with the dirt floor, the brown calloused feet. I was having trouble keeping my eyes off of them. I would glance away, objectively focusing my eyes on other eyes in the compact dark space. But my mind still remained on the feet of that timid and insecure teenage girl.
That afternoon in Tanzania, I wanted more than anything to pull the sandals off my feet and slip them onto hers. The thoughts were stirring and building. When I was just about to act on my notions, I couldn’t bring myself to move. I sat, frozen. I felt she somehow knew my inner turmoil. I was paranoid.
Sure, I was fond of those brown, beaded thongs I bought in southern India the previous month. It wasn’t parting with the shoes that stopped me dead in my tracks. I had running kicks and flip flops back in my pack. And even if I didn’t have these other pairs of shoes, I still don’t think I would have been somber over the parting. I wasn’t concerned about walking in the dirt. I got all my vaccinations and hadn’t managed to get guinea worms yet.
Fear, pride, uncertainty, and everything else having to do with these inhibiting words got in the way. How would the girl react? Would she embrace me with pure exuberance or remain quiet and apprehensive? Was it God giving me the idea or was it only my human self? What would the translator make of it? My teammates? I didn’t want it to seem like I was having a “greater than thou” disposition.
These concerns were and are absurd. I absolutely hate that this happened last January. And I despise every other instance I thought about doing good but abstained. I am however thankful the Lord is using this past experience to teach me how to give without restraint.
I’m not advertising that whole checking the brain at the door model. I’m clarifying the necessity to give…to give more often than not. Do I need a divine word from the Lord to help a brother or sister? I don’t think so. Maybe it will happen (and I welcome it!), but if it doesn’t, do I withhold what already belongs to Him?
I long to get over my pride. I desire to rid these excuses disguised as boundaries.
I like to believe the shoeless, calloused girl would have been beaming. I also like to believe everyone in the room (myself included) would have caught a deeper glimpse into the Kingdom of Heaven.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” -James 2:15-16
Tonight, God is saying, “Give. Give knowing you are my very hands and my very feet. Don’t fret about wrongly acting. My Spirit will guide you if you ask. Act. Give. Love.”
“That’s one of the things about love. It doesn’t recognize boundaries and never obeys the rules we try to give it.” – Bob Goff