previously in trips of invitation, or being a guest of honor, the way i am treated is very very very wonderful. i could say about every place i have been, "this is the most hospitable country i have ever traveled!" i am forced, upon conversation with my common friends, to reveal how i was received and treated and i truly and honestly could not say that is was different than other times i have traveled. i do not want to say it was better there, or it was better in this place, or that. gods design of hospitality was not mean to be a one sided avenue. there is a response that must be given. in what form i am not sure of but in my most recent experience i believe it requires my attention to how my comment or response to hospitality will change the dynamic of the relationship. i know an example is needed here.
those that are hosting me in this church speak french...i do not, yet. what i have noticed is that if i mention i like something, or mention i would like to go to a location we might notice an immediate detour for that location. this is the urgency and desire of service that these people have on their hearts. is it gifting, or is it trained? i mention a good wine that i favored and the very next day i would find it gift wrapped for me to take home. one evening volcanic ash covered the ground quite similar to the snow fall i had missed in texas. as we approached the building to the church for the service you could anticipate an individual with an umbrella ready to usher us in without one spot of ash on our person.
it spoke to me. it yelled at me. it upper cut me in the face. the moment i thought this service was not real and would give way to true human character of self seeking i was awestruck with another exhibition of humility. the most endearing lesson i have ever learned. these people followed there orders given without question, or if they questioned they petitioned it to god...and not the pastor. look at yourself. look at your service. i am well aware of faults of my leaders and i am well aware of what i would like things to look like or how i think they should run. to have a shepherd who you follow without question is not to deny your ability, on the contrary, you will not be anybody significant without a shepherd to guide you. to question your leader reveals a great deal of distrust and insecurity in your own heart in the god you claim to serve. we all have an issue with submission. and i mean we all do. i know leaders mislead, take advantage, misguide, and give horrible counsel quite regularly. especially in this wonderfully blessed nation we live in we find that what we value as freedom actually gives credentials for a great deal of misguided leadership an opportunity to flourish and further create a hard heart amongst other selfish people. this creates dissension inside the church which has root in every congregation and feeds the philosophy of independence. it's message resounds from every corner. if you want to be anybody you must do it on your own. this is not the kingdom i so hope to be apart. we all like sheep have gone astray. and if i have learned anything about sheep in my study i have learned that sheep are dumb animals who need guiding.
the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want.
he makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
he restores my soul;
he guides me in the path of righteousness
for his name's sake