Caring Requires Giving of Yourself
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. —1 John 4:11
Today, Friday June 25, we did a day excursion as we are off this week from camphosting. Al, me and my sister Em who lives with us, hopped in Bessie-2, our affectionate name for the 2nd Chevy Suburban we’ve owned (love them), went off to visit some treasures right in our little town of Abiquiu, NM.
First stop— the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm. We picked fresh lavender for our other camphost couple, walked their beautiful Labyrinth surrounded by purple delight in both sight and smell! Bought some products—like “Bug Off” – it works, believe me. Lavender lip balm is awesome, plus other lavender products we couldn’t be without. The woman at the counter showed us how to cut lavender at just the right spot so more would continue to grow on that stem; and she shared life at the Lavender Farm. So nice and caring, we walked out feeling joy and certainly blessed. After all, Who made that lavender?!
Next stop—the Santa Rosa of Lima Mission, or rather what is left of it. Built in 1734, this was a safe haven from marauding Spaniards, Indians, and outlaws. It was a place where people could safely practice their faith, baptize their families, take Holy Communion, and commune with their precious Savior. The walls still stand, part of the door is there, and many who have lineage with family members from way back, come to pay respects, sit and meditate, leave blessings boxes, roses, signed stones, etc. As you walk through this place you cannot help but hear the prayers of the souls gone many years before. It got me humming Blessed Assurance, and truly, that is what this old mission was and for many, it still is!
Now it was time for lunch, so we went to a newly reopened (in a very old adobe) place called Café Sierra Negra: Sierra meaning mountain, strong, brave, safe; Negra meaning black, dark strong rock. The scenery is filled with black rock laced on both sides with red sandstone and white limestone as this area is in a caldera where a volcano blew its top!! The food was incredible and Negra-or black beans is a specialty, but it was the people and the eclectic place that made you want to stay longer after your meal. They were kind, funny, and you could catch their joy in what they did—feed you with delicious food! On the bottom of the hand-written menu was “Good for body, mind and soul.” Indeed, that was spot-on!
As we got back into Bessie-2, Blessed Assurance again had me humming! We had a day that was blessed—an assurance to us that we would encounter just what God wanted us to do after a long week of work at the campground. And what was the center of this assurance? People who cared, people who tilled the soil to give us the healing blessings of lavender, people who grew their food and herbs to give us delightful sustenance, and people who left behind a mission of walls reminding us that in God’s hands, we are walled 24/7—for he gives his angels charge over us and the “arrows of life” will not come near us (Psalm 91).
Now I know why I was humming Fanny Crosby’s hymn—that’s who she was! We still sing many of her over 400+ hymns. Fanny loved to visit rescue missions- to sing and pray with others. One time in a crowd of homeless addicts, she stopped, said “shhhhh—is there a young man in here who doesn’t have a mother?” Obviously, she had everyone’s attention. One young man timidly raised his hand sharing that his mom died when he was very young. She asked him to come to the front, gave him a big hug and like any mom, promptly kissed him on the check. He was so filled with joy he hugged her back and did not want to let go. So moved by the experience, she went home that night and wrote the lyrics to her famous hymn Rescue the Perishing and not long after that, Blessed Assurance. Fanny’s goal in life wasn’t the music, it was what the music conveyed: caring, rescuing, weeping with them-drying their tears, and most of all, telling them of Jesus who is mighty to save!
You know, when you receive such care, gentleness, and unsolicited kindness—kind of like what we experienced in our day’s excursion—it is a profound touch on your life. You didn’t expect it, but there was God working through other people caring for you, sharing love in so many different ways. Sadly, how many times do we miss it and pay no attention?
We can do this but not until we learn to “give up ourselves” and get rid of our ego, our quick-to-judge-attitudes, our selfishness and worst of all, just outright indifference for others. We may never know how touching another’s life with love and care can make such a difference. In fact, years after Fanny embraced that young man, he came to a gospel concert where Ira Sankey performed some of Fanny’s hymns. Ira shared the story of the young many who stoop up, interrupted Ira by shouting “THAT WAS ME—AND I’M HERE TODAY BECAUSE SHE CARED FOR ME!” That cry from a hurting heart was now one of cheering and no doubt those folks at the gospel concert that night were impacted by his testimony.
We can do this people—because Christ lives in our hearts and we must do it because we are mandated to care and help and give another person’s life the inspiration and encouragement needed to live a faith-walk with precious Jesus. Let’s try to get “out of ourselves” and ask God every day in our prayers “please, show me where I can share Your love to someone today.” Oh yes, we could and we CAN change the world in the strength of God’s love—even in a delicious Negra Frijole Quesadilla!