The Old Testament prophet, Nehemiah, once said “I cannot come down because the work is too great.” He was rebuilding the wall that was in ruins and didn’t want to stop doing [God’s] work.
I feel this way about South Africa. It’s no secret that Africa confronts dire poverty and a growing AIDS epidemic, but it’s entirely different to be here–in the midst–it’s overwhelming. (When was the last time you prayed HARD that a 7-yr. old’s HIV test would come back negative?) It feels much bigger than anything one person could even make a dent in. But once you see what we’ve seen there is no turning away. We’re now responsible for the things we’ve witnessed. In all honesty, I am willing but have no idea where to begin.
Recently I listened to Craig Groeschel speak about “Ridiculous Provision” from the life of Elisha. AMAZING! ( watch it here)
When the widow seeks help from Elisha, he asks her two things: what do you want me to do? What do you have?”. At first, the widow replies that she has nothing to offer–except a jar of olive oil (symbolic today of Holy Spirit). Elisha told her to collect every empty jar she could and continue to pour out the oil. She did and filled several jars–until there were no more empty jars. When she ran out of empty jars the oil stopped flowing. Groeschel makes the point that God starts with what we have (empty jars) and then fills it.
So– when I look around me and see hunger, disease, hate, indifference, innocence lost– I feel that the question is posed to me: “What do you have? What do you want Me to do?”
I don’t know the answer…yet. But I think it’s the right question to be asking.
For now, I’ll work from these truths:
1. The work is too great and I cannot come down from here
2. I have some “oil” that I can start pouring out
3. God needs empty jars before they can be filled