"Humble yourselves before the LORD and He will lift you up in honor" - James 4:10
Thanksgiving blessings to all my readers! I pray it has been a weekend of gathering with family and friends and counting the many blessings that are yours in Yeshua our Messiah.
For me, the last couple of weeks have indeed been filled with great blessings as the Lord taught me more about humility than I have ever grasped before. True, my time on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem five years ago was a profoundly humbling experience; yet, on the streets of downtown Denver and in the home of friends in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I received even deeper revelation about those whom God will be lifting up in honor!
Every year my dear friend, David Clifton, undertakes the enormous project of feeding a grand Thanksgiving dinner to Denver's homeless people. This year he was allowed space in front of the massive City/Counting Building and across from the Colorado State Capitol building. God gave great favor that day, with sunny skies and warm temps in the 60s, as we stood behind long banquet tables serving hot, roasted turkeys, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade stuffing, green bean casseroles, a delightful array of salads and an endless supply of freshly baked pies to over 11,000 people! This year many of these folks looked like your average neighbors and friends - because they are people who have fallen on extremely hard times, losing jobs and homes, not knowing where to turn, or how to keep food on their tables. I had three of my grandchildren with me and the youngest, age 7, was serving cupcakes with colorful frosting and little plastic Barbies to many young children with single moms. All day there were bands playing Christian and Gospel music on the stage behind us. I had been scheduled to sing at 3:00 pm, but other bands kept going up on stage ahead of me, and finally I was told to just keep serving food, and if they needed me, they would call me up.
Close to 5:00 p.m. the sun was setting behind us and most of the people, their bellies full, had gone on to wherever they sleep for the night. The servers had begun the clean-up process; and it was then that I was called up to the stage! I would be the last person to sing, and my 13-year-old granddaughter, Jayde, came up to sing with me. We sang songs of hope and blessing in Messiah Yeshua, and then for the first time, some of the people came right up and crowded around the stage. Most of them were men with scraggly beards and unwashed clothes. One of them had a very tiny bible in his hand and he was thrusting it up to my granddaughter, trying to ask her something. She leaned forward to hear his request: "Proverbs 20! Read Proverbs 20 to me!" Humbly, and without missing a beat, she went to the microphone and began to read: "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." She paused after these words, and we watched as at least a dozen or more single men came closer to the stage to hear her words. I recognized the look of alcoholism on their faces - that long-drawn look, with sunken, hopeless eyes. How humbling to watch my granddaughter read these words of wisdom to these men! We had been called up last - to sing for just a very few - but in the Kingdom of God, the first shall be last and the last shall be first!
Then John and I flew off to Canada where we spent a week with our precious friends, Myles and Theresa in Winnipeg. Theresa is a quadriplegic, having been left paralyzed by a brain-stem stroke after the birth of her 2nd son, 27 years ago. I am helping to edit the book she is writing of her faith journey; and her husband, Myles, is helping me to complete some music tracks for the new CD I am preparing to record. We spent a week there and the blessings of God's creative Spirit flowed mightily throughout that household! But nothing and no one impacted me more than Theresa's care-giver, Doris. She came on certain days to cook, clean, and provide Theresa's personal care. One day before lunch I sat at the kitchen table while Theresa instructed Doris on the preparations for our lunch. "Put 2 quarts of water into the pot. Turn the stove on high. Add a pinch of salt. Chop...stir...turn down the stove..." Doris followed every instruction silently and obediently, and I thought I detected a quiet joy in her spirit. But I could not understand it. When we finished eating, Theresa asked how we liked her meal, and I was quite surprised. I thought to myself, "She didn't make this meal. Doris did! Now she is going to take credit for it?"
I lay in bed that night pondering what I had observed and I asked the Spirit to help me understand what I had witnessed. In my spirit I heard Him explain, "Doris is Theresa's hands. She decreases so that Theresa might increase and still be able to do those things she most loves in her home: cooking, sewing, organizing, keeping house. Doris becomes invisible so that Theresa can have hands again." I marveled at this. It was a humility I have not encountered before! Then the Spirit spoke again: "When a man who has led crusades that brought hundreds of thousands of people to salvation stands before Me at the Judgment Seat, I will not be as moved as I will when Doris stands before me. I will lift her up in highest honor in that Day!"
Doris is not just Theresa's hands, then. She is Yeshua's hands!
I know this word extended also to Myles, who has lovingly, faithfully cared for his wife throughout these 27 years, and who exemplifies the role of husband in a way I have also never seen. Theresa is a precious, vibrant, intelligent woman who today ministers over voice-activated computer to many across the globe; and who assists her husband in pastoring a Messianic congregation in their city, gathering every Shabbat for Torah study. It has been a humbling experience indeed to read and edit her astonishing story of faith; but it was an epiphany for me to discover that sometimes behind the stories of great ones are those whose hearts and hands have invisibly and humbly made it all possible.
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