Saturday, February 24, 2007

If we don't love, we gain nothing

We are getting geared up for an awesome year with partners from all over the states. Starting spring break we will be hosting around 9 teams this year. We are also excited to be interviewing potential staff and interns! What a blessing. Jake hosted a Superbowl party yesterday and around 40 of our youth were here. Darcy and I traveled to Flagstaff to talk to the NAU student fellowship group about their spring break trip here. We are going to accomplish much for God this year!! We are feeling a bit overwhelmed, thank you for your continued prayers for perseverance and effectiveness.

Now here is the “not so typical” update…

I sat across from a young man (18 years old) tonight in the kitchen of the Kennel. He a boy I’ve known since we opened to the public (2003). I haven’t seen him in awhile and here he is in front of me, crying, broken. It was a tough conversation. He was intoxicated and being very open and honest. Of course, I don’t condone drinking and we always wisk the kids off and out of the place when they come in, but, his honesty caught me again. He’s hopeless and looking for answers. He is surrounded by a clouded present formed by his own day-to-day decisions to waste away. It kills me when a young soul looks me in the eyes and asks, “how can you help me…will you help me…save me.” Honestly, he’s not looking for answers. He’s looking for a miracle. His life is like so many that we deal with. It’s great that I’m there to tell him that I’ll pray for him. I can even reassure him that he can count on me, because I’ve been here for so many years. But I’m not sure that these are the answers he’s looking for. As I’m stumbling for words, I’m realizing my own gaps of faith. I’m feeling hopeless for him because I don’t have a single answer that will meet his immediate need.

I pour him a glass of water as he tells me that he loves me. What he is really saying is that he needs someone to love him. I’m seeing an overgrown boy in front of me that needed to be cared for. He needed nurtured. He’s right, I could never understand the reality of his neglected life. It’s in these times I remember that God is strong when I am weak. I’m counting on it. I know that he is looking for quick answers and there aren’t any. The answers lie in him making a series of decisions, starting with the most important one, laying everything aside and following Jesus. Sounds simple, but so many forsake the thought for self-indulgence.

I’ll have to honest with you all. We’ve all got a long way to go. I feel a bit like the rich young ruler. I’m keeping a lot of God’s commandments but I won’t really be living until I give all that I have to the poor. Period. We are all missing something if we aren’t living to give up everything and love with the right motives. Sometimes I miss the point. I feel pride by how much I give. I miss the point because I put value in the things I give and not the person I’m giving it to. If we don’t love, we gain nothing. Sure, someone who is in need gains physically, but we gain nothing. If this sounds familiar it’s because it’s in 1 Corinthians 13:3. If I give everything to the poor and don’t love, I gain nothing.

From a ministry stand point it could be stated this way. We can give. We can run programs. We can serve those lacking fundamental needs here on the reservation. But if we do not love, we gain nothing. It’s my prayer that God will empower us to love the sometimes unlovable even more this year. And as we do, we will stand back and watch God work miracles in our midst.

Your fellow servant,

Ron Everingham, General Director