The Pathway Devotional #13 - Shoe Boxes

posted by Church Bethel | Jun 4, 2019

SHOE BOXES

At Bethel we have first hand experience with ministry and multiplication on both a local and a global scale.  Of the latter, Operation Christmas Child comes to mind.  Every Thanksgiving we witness the preparations at Bethel’s Distribution Center and begin noticing red and green shoe boxes laid at the altar.  
 
This goes on for several weeks, a hive of activity nothing short of Herculean.  17,000 shoe boxes are packed, delivered with care, then dispatched all over the globe.  It’s a tender undertaking on behalf of children, for sure. But it’s so much more.  It wasn’t until I looked deeper into the operation’s impact that I fully comprehended the “more” ~ the exponential growth such a ministry- outreach engenders.    
 
Franklin Graham, who directs OCC’s operations tells us that “Since 2009, more than 8.9 million children have reported decisions for Christ.”  He goes on: “From the shoe box packers who pray for the boys and girls who will receive their gifts to the local teachers who pray for the children who attend The Greatest Journey discipleship classes prayer is key to the work of Operation Christmas Child. “  
 
It’s all about delivering the Good News along with a shoe box and the making of disciples.  Many hands and many prayers are involved in the process each step of the way.  Some pack. Some pray. Some go. Some stay.  Some teach. Some coach.  God gives the increase. 
 
1 Corinthians 3:6-9 puts it this way:  “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
 
God asks that we think beyond ourselves, our family, our own personal interests.  He asks us to build on those; to go further still:   “ … you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8  The second mile is where the race costs us something.
 
In His economy the status quo is never an end game; multiplication is essential.  In that way, His kingdom grows and flourishes.  People hear the Good News, receive salvation and are tutored and encouraged to become disciples themselves and pass it on.  It’s God’s Plan A.  He has no Plan B.
 
We are God’s investment in a world badly in need of Good News. That world may be no further than the neighbor next door, or the newcomer to our small group.  Or it may be the world of shoe boxes in Cambodia or Rwanda.  No matter where we are, that is our mission field.  We are called to devote our time, talent and effort to pass along what we’ve been freely given. Matthew 10:7-8 
 
Think of it this way: you have $100 to invest. You buy something that promises a return.  You know that $100 is working for you and, in time, will yield an increase, an R.O.I. ~ a return on your investment.  You would not be happy if it did nothing or, worse, it actually diminished in value.  We all love multiplication when it favors our bank account.  
 
God favors multiplication, no matter how minimal, when it is the yield of our obedience to the Great Commission, to the making of disciples and the baptizing of all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
 
“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop ~ a hundred, sixty or thirty times what; was sown.  Whoever has ear let him hear.” 
 
 
REFLECTION
  1. Where might God be calling you to journey beyond the 2nd mile?
  2. What impediments or excuses keep you from obeying God’s call on your life?
  3. Write out a prayer thanking God for the impact He’s had in and through your life. Ask Him to broaden your vision, to give you a deeper discipleship desire.

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