Never-Ending Plastic Bowls.
Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing…
Jesus Christ expects to do with us as His Father did with Him. He can put us where He likes, in pleasant duties or in mean duties…
A ready person never needs to get ready.
Recently, I was privileged to spend a week with several members of my church (www.corinthtoday.org) serving in Matagalpa, Nicaragua with The Hope Project.
Ministry outreach in and around the community primarily targeted small children and the elderly, those who suffer from extreme poverty.
According to the director of operations, our job description while there was pretty straightforward. We were to love on the people.
I could do this. In abundance. For hours, if needed.
During two occasions, while visiting school children, we were privileged to serve their lunch (aka their only meal of the day). While a long line of hungry children formed, a handful of us scooped a sizable serving of rice, beans, and a soy supplement into a bowl, speared it with a plastic spoon, and placed the bowl on the counter.
One by one, these precious children came to receive.
How easy it was to love on them!
Ah, but then came time for clean up.
Those plastic bowls had to be prepped for the next day’s filling.
Right. Of course.
The woman in charge of The Hope Project’s nutrition program flagged a couple of us over to two large, wash basins in the kitchen that were flush against a cinderblock wall. Both basins contained water, one for initial washing and the other for rinsing.
Following what amounted to a mere 6.3-second ‘tutorial’ on the bowl washing procedure, I nodded my thanks and set to work. I took the first little stack of, maybe, ten or so empty bowls and dipped them in the cloudy water. I swiped a thin, ragged scrub pad over a small mound of industrial strength soap, wiped the inside of the bowl, then dipped it in the second basin for a final rinse.
Being honest here…this was not my favorite job.
Seeing as how the average Nicaraguan woman has a stature significantly less than my 5′ 9″ frame, my lower back began to ache from leaning over the sink.
And each time I’d finished cleaning a stack of bowls, I turned to find my mission team partner had collected more. Dotting my sweaty brow, I washed them, and turned to find still more.
Thoughts of those fuzzy, reptilian-like Gremlins came to mind. You know, the ones that multiply when wet?
Will these bowls ever stop multiplying?!
Akin to an active volcano, inner grumblings began to churn and bubble inside, threatening to erupt.
So I did.
Scrub, rinse…and pray. Scrub, rinse…and pray…
And, by golly, the chore wasn’t a chore anymore.
Then God said, “Consider that each bowl represents a child whose belly is now filled. Clean them so I can fill them again and again and again.”
At that point, I eagerly turned to reach for more plastic bowls. But by that time, the stack had shrunk to only a few.
Imagine if I’d set out to the task with the heart and mind of Christ?
Be quick to give a meal to the hungry —
I Peter 4:9 (The Msg)