My friends Paul and Laurel are in in Switzerland learning French. Why? Because they plan to move to a certain country in Africa where French is one of the predominant languages. While in Africa, they will be developing written languages (for the first time) for several spoken tribal languages. Then, they will help translate the Scriptures into those tribal languages.
Why? They are doing all this to disciple the people among those tribes. They do not view translation as an end, but as one of the means toward helping people grow in maturity in Jesus Christ.
However, it seems that God is continuing to teach them about serving him and loving others while they are in Switzerland. In one of their latest posts, “Rejecting a gift given out of love,” they tell the story of a friend who wanted to help a homeless man they found rooting around in the garbage can for scraps of food. Here is part of the story:
Our friend got up immediately and resolutely saying that he would buy this man a meal. Within a few minutes, our friend came back and just quietly placed the bag of food at the man’s feet, smiled, and walked on. To all of our shock, the homeless man grunted and hastily grabbed the bag of food and angrily slammed it into the trash can he had just been eating out of. We were speechless.
But, they also learned something very important through this:
We were all immediately struck with the reality that this is how the Lord feels when people reject His gift given out of His great love for us… Another challenge we took away from this is to persevere in loving and serving people even when rejected because that is what Jesus did.
This is a difficult lesson to learn. We all want to be accepted, and we want people to be appreciative when we love them.
But, we should never allow people’s responses (or lack of responses) to be a motivation or a hindrance to our service. The only service that honors God is one that is motivated by a love for him and others and that is empowered by the Holy Spirit.