This past month, most of our nation watch with sadness and horror as fires rage out of control each summer in Southern California. Despite the heroic efforts of so many firefighters and many other unsung heroes, more than a thousand homes burned. Beneath the sadness though, there dwelt a quiet resolve to rebuild upon the ashes of the old. Most of the homes were insured and, though money cannot bring back everything, it offered the means to begin again.
Around the nation, people sent in gifts and supplies to aid to those in need. Many came to the evacuation centers and offered their time and skills to those who had been evacuated.
Travel with me for a moment across the world. Come with me to Asia, land of Hinduism and reincarnation. It is now the time of the monsoons, and thousands of people are being driven into the hills as they watch their huts covered by the deluge. Here there is not only the loss of homes, but the loss of thousands of lives—swallowed up by the waters that silence their cries.
In these places, there is no outpouring of aid and assistance from their fellowmen. Have you ever wondered why? It is because suffering is seen as retribution for bad deeds in past lives. If one suffers enough, they believe they will come back in their next life healthier and wealthier—so few reach out to the suffering, impoverished and orphaned.
When I was in India last year, the mayor of the large city of Vijayawada. came to meet me. He told me the poor in Andhra Pradesh are growing in greater numbers every year. Disease, lack of medical care, AIDs and hunger all contribute to this growing desolation. He told me many had given up all hope, and that new babies were often abandoned by desperate families who had no means to feed them.
I listened for a long time wondering why he was telling me such things. In America, this would cause an outcry for the government to do something, and elected officials who did nothing would probably not be re-elected. Yet, he went on telling me that when fires and floods come to the poor villages they don’t even bother to call the fire department anymore. They know they will not come until it’s too late, if they come at all.
Then he said, “But the poor do know who to call. They call Mission of Joy, because they know that you will come and bring them some help.” Then he thanked us for what we had been doing there for the past 17 years.
After all these years, I cannot remember the names of all of the villages we have visited, churches built, wells dug and even the many miraculous healings we saw God do in our presence. The older I get, the more I seem to forget. But I don’t think it’s really too important what I can no longer remember. All that remains, and really matters, is that we do what good we can each day with whatever means He provides us.
Even so, there is One who does not forget—who remembers everything we do in His name. All our deeds are written in Heaven, in the book of our days—even if it is something as small as giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child. (Matt 10: 42). Jesus promised He would remember every disciple’s acts of love.
All we possess, all our earthly treasure will soon pass away, burn up, break down or be stolen. So let us strive to live out our days expressing His love—and thereby inherit another kind of treasure–an eternal one.
May our lives be filled with acts of kindness for Jesus sake. And though our minds may one day forget, we know our Lord promises He will not. For He has recorded them for all eternity—in the book of our days, the Book of Life —a book He will open on that soon coming day when we shall finally meet Him, face to face.