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An Inch Wide and a Mile Deep

Take a moment with me real quick and imagine a Frisbee, the kind that has been very used and all scratched up. Now keep that Frisbee in mind ….Recently, I have been going over the different parables in the Bible with my students in the morning. I will admit I’m not a great Bible teacher and definitely need more practice, but it has been a fun experience and has led to a lot of deep discussions with my students. This week we read the parable about the bags of gold. In this parable a master gives each of his three servants a portion of his wealth. He gives one five bags of gold, the second two bags, and the third one bag of gold, each according to his ability. Then the master went away on a journey. The first two servants each invested their money to accumulate more wealth for the master when he returned, but the third servant dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money till he returned to give him back the same amount he received. If you're familiar you know the master was very upset at the third servant when he returned. While there's a lot to unpack about this parable I want to focus on only one aspect of it for today. In my lesson with my students, instead of using the word gold, I used the word “talent.” A lot more relatable for a nine to eleven year old. We talked about how God gives us talents and he created us with special gifts to use for a purpose. So, now let's go back to that mental image of a frisbee in our minds real quick. Pretend real quick with me that you have never seen or heard of a frisbee before. Then all of a sudden you came across one on the road. You might be confused by this plastic object thinking it could be a dinner plate, hat, a tool of some kind, or a lost part of an object. I’m sure you could come up with a lot of possibilities of what it could be, but in reality it’s just a plain old Frisbee. It was created for a very specific purpose and that purpose was to fly. It’s not a very impressive object or any high tech electronic toy kids have nowadays. However, it has led to some of the most fun games for children to play with its impressive fly ability from can-jam to good old ultimate Frisbee (very intensive game if you ask me).

Now I’m sure you are wondering why I am telling you all about this finite children's toy. Well like the mediocre Frisbee we look at ourselves and the talents God gave us and think there's not much there, definitely nothing extraordinary. We might even think so little of our talents we choose to hide them out of fear like the third servant from the parable deep into the ground for no one to see. I have felt like that most of my life…mediocre and afraid to even try to become talented at something I love to do. I would say I have no talents, but I am a quick learner and hard worker. School was never easy for me and I did well in sports, but no MVP. Even now, I think why the heck would God send me to help people. I am twenty two, single, not much wealth to share, never been a parent, first time living on my own, trying to figure out how to pay bills, let alone cook a meal, not even a year's worth of teaching experience, didn’t even travel out of America growing up to say I have cross cultural experience. I have no special degrees or experiences to be a good candidate at this job most days and trust me I am frustrated often at myself and even God sometimes. Even when talking with people about taking this opportunity I had a lot of push back from people saying I should wait till I am more experienced, financially secure, married, and a multitude of other wise inputs. A lot of what they said was true and would have been good advice to listen to. But I didn’t.

The verse behind Boyer Mission is Isaiah 6:8 “Here I am, send me.” The original meaning of this verse comes from the Prophet Isaiah after King Uzziah of Judah died of leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-23). The beginning of Isaiah’s ministry as a prophet is recorded in Isaiah 6 as he receives a vision from the Lord. The verse Isaiah 6:8 records the Lord’s calling of Isaiah and Isaiah receiving that call. God needed someone to speak to His people, and it was through the prophets in which He did at that time. Isaiah answers God's question without hesitation showing a heart posture of obedience and even excitement of the Lord's calling on his life. Which is quite the opposite reaction to how Moses reacted when the Lord called him (as this verse is a parallel to Moses’ commission at the burning bush). Unlike Isaiah, Moses points out all his human faults and how he is unqualified to be the one who goes and speaks to Pharaoh, especially with his speech impairment. Going back to Isaiah we see God tell him straight up that even though he is going to share His message, the people will not listen to them because their hearts have become too calloused and beyond repentance. Despite that disclosure of the situation Isaiah still said “yes” joyfully. The more clearly Isaiah saw God the more aware Isaiah became of his own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God. But he was willing to be God’s spokesman.

I’m sure Moses and Isaiah both were very talented individuals if we met them back in their days with great stories to tell about the works of God. However, I think these two men show the different heart posture we can take towards the callings God asks of us at times. We can be like Moses and the third servant from the parable of the bags of gold trying to run away out of fear of sharing our talents/gifts God has given us with others. Or being like Isaiah and the other two servants from the parable aware of our powerlessness and inadequacy but following God in obedience and joyfulness to do something of lasting value that will be a part of a bigger story than our own. The use of “Here I am” reveals purpose. Isaiah was saying he was here on earth for a specific purpose and he wanted that purpose to be the Lord’s. You are here for a purpose and your talents no matter how insignificant you think they might be can play a huge role in God’s divine story and other people's lives.

Like I said earlier I’m not really talented at much and have little to offer others. However, this past year showed me that it didn’t matter if I was talented at anything or not. God called me to do this and there is no arguing with that. So while the advice people gave when I was considering this opportunity was good, I’m very happy I didn’t listen. It doesn't matter that I don't have thirty plus years of teaching experience, doctoral degree in education, years of youth ministry experience, talented soccer player or chief, married, nor great amount of financial wealth. Really the greatest talent and gift we can give others is our time, friendship, and vulnerability. Making someone feel important, seen, heard and most of all loved is what matters at the end of the day. Which leads us to the last part of this newsletter.

So, that’s the talent I’ve learned I have is being intentional with people and going all in on relationships. It’s not a very impressive talent but it’s imperative. The simple task of listening, spending time with others, and walking with them though life is a talent we have all forgotten to carry out more often. While money and I’m sure a nice fancy educational degree does a lot in helping kids, it’s not the key to someone's heart. It's about going a mile deep into their lives (even if that means risking rejection and hurt) that will ultimately help lead to a possible revival. You never know what seeds you will leave behind. We often scatter ourselves too far in life thinking we are meant to save the world, our country, or even community. At times we forget that it’s not our job to save the world (as my mother often reminds me of this daily). We were not designed to carry the weight of the world and reach all of its far corners of depravity. We were made for an “inch.” We are designed for meaningful relationships that go a mile deep into each other's lives with those closest around us, not the accumulation of many meaningless ones. With the main point of life to be God glorifying, sharing and displaying his good works. Bearing as a witness to the One who can go miles wide and miles deep reaching the parts of the world and souls of people stuck in darkness. We just have to be courageous by tapping into our relational gift of friendship with others and choosing to not run and hide trying to bury it to avoid the risk of entanglement.

So…when God calls, will you also say, “Here I am, send me?”

P. S; The title and meaning behind this newsletter was inspired by my time spent with two former Haiti missionaries living here in Abaco currently running a tutoring program that I help with on Thursday evenings. Their organization formally known as “Many Hands for Haiti” (now named “Many Hands”) has moved into Abaco with some other missionaries!!! One of “Many Hands” values is an “inch wide and a mile deep.” They believe in focused impact, not random activity. Breaking the chains of generational poverty, both physical and spiritual, is incredibly complicated. To work in this environment, they break it down into focused building blocks that stack on each other, moving towards a common goal. One person, one family, one community, one region, one country, one world. They are currently running mission trips on the island to get ready to move in more people from their team and start investing into both Haitians and Bahamians here in Abaco. BYN is partnering with them in supporting their ministry and helping in any way we can to reach more people. It’s awesome to see more ministries coming to Abaco to help kids and families and being able to learn and work alongside them!

Prayer Requests:

  1. Creole Tutoring

  2. Reaching and forming deep relationships with my students at Agape and youth groups girls at BYN

  3. Preparing for whatever the Lord has planned for me this year to accomplish for his Glory! (Some cool things are in the works!)

  4. Becoming more close to the Lord, His word, and be competently reliant Him at all times!

Fun Things Going on in the Class Room:

Youth Group Activities and Small group Bonding Nights:

Beauty of Abaco, Bahamas:

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