In response to the recent series on hospitality, writing friend Hilda Barnhart sent me this piece which she wrote 25 years ago, about one week of her life. It provides a fitting epilogue to my own words. What does it take to do mighty works for Christ?
Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash
And as ye go. . . .v. 7
Sometimes amidst our busy lives we lose sight of Christ’s command to take the opportunities as we go.
ON CARPENTER ST.
I dream of Someday, of “mission high fulfilling”
“Heralds of Christ, who bear the King’s commands,
Immortal tidings in” our “mortal hands.”
“The message glorious”
The “prayer victorious”
The “shades of night”
Dispelled by light
“Power. . .unfurled”
Throughout the world.
Through “mountain pass”
“And deep morass”
“The highway of the King”
Of these we sing.
I dream of it
But for now I am stuck
With the trivial
This is how it goes. . . .
My husband wondered if, come next-day noon
I might feed the seed-corn man
(He was coming to weigh a plot).
So that First Day night I said, “Yes, I will
if you go fetch me a pack of hamburger from the freezer.”
He ate with us, this young unmarried man of thirty
and asked us as he partook of Mennonite country cooking
what the Bible said about divorce and remarriage.
He really didn’t know what God said
but he didn’t want to sin—though he admitted
he was still sowing a few wild oats.
So we read the Word and explained
and it took half a day to straighten the house
and fix the food
and visit congenially
All for a seed-corn man.
And me. . . . needing to do pears
and housecleaning in particular
so that I can have really important company
instead of these mundane people who so often enter my life.
And then on Wednesday
the deacon’s wife wondered if I would have any literature
to send to a hungry friend
who had come back to the Lord
after twenty years.
She knew church papers
and other useful things
have a way of collecting in my house;
thus called on me.
So I compiled a pile
and took it up to the deacon’s wife
and we talked only a wee bit
(surely not more than 45 minutes)
But somehow that gesture and the issuing fellowship
blew my morning.
(And she had wallpaper to hang, too.)
Then Thursday I received a call
from the Tompkins company
promoting their windows.
This is Alice McGill—she said. . .
from the Tompkins company.
Alice McGill! I thought. . .so I listened politely–
it really was Alice.
I could tell from her voice
though she had only been to church a few times
was it three? four? years ago?
And when she finished, I said,
“I don’t need any windows
but I’m wondering how you are, Alice.”
And she was surprised I remembered her name.
I also remembered her old gray van
and her poverty
(Her husband—once divorced—is ill and Alice is the breadwinner.)
She took note of my number to call me back
but who know whether
I’ll hear from her again.
It seems so hopeless.
And Saturday. . .
Some of us went to town and when we got home
there was an orange flag—with writing–
close to our driveway.
What are we supposed to be selling?
My daughter wondered the same.
But it was only a notice of a yard sale
on Carpenter St.
So we went on up the road
and followed more orange flags
to Carpenter St.
There were two yard sales.
Nothing interested us at one
so we moved across the street
to a rather forsaken looking place.
The lady came out
and mentioned how she couldn’t sleep nights.
Her grown up son had come home.
(The grown-up ones are worse than the younger ones, she said.)
Who knows what he was in to.
She said, “Pray for me” and we left.
(We had bought one ordinary item.)
What a dry run.
Someday perhaps, we might get into
or other organized outreach
or have time to regularly invite people over who are obviously searching
or maybe even do counseling for the sinsick and downtrodden.
There is no end to the far-off possibilities.
But for now, I am stuck
with the trivial and mundane
like praying for humdrum people on Carpenter St.
But even a drink of water given to one of these little ones (or those we count of little importance) is noticed by God.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. v. 42
6 thoughts on “Guest Post: Mighty Works for Christ”
Love this! This is just so everyday life for Christians who don’t think they are doing anything for the Lord! It’s all these little things that we do everyday to show His love and light! So glad you sent this link!!
Thank you for this reminder! Everyday life is my mission field! May my eyes see the everyday harvest and be His laborer in my everyday life!
Indeed, thank you for sharing that wonderful reminder that even the housebound can make a difference by making a phone call or sending a note when prompted by the Lord. His love through us can make a world of difference. And it only takes a moment.
Such an encouraging piece! “Bloom where you are planted” came to mind. The daily acts of kindness and service to others that we consider mundane are so important. Kingdom work happens right where we are!
This is such an incredibly beautiful piece. 😭 So full of hope for stay-at-home-moms who feel like they are doing So Little for the kingdom. Myself included. Thanks for passing it along, Katrina, and thanks, Hilda, for sharing.