Developing A Servantâ€™s Heart â€œBut it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.â€? Mark 10: 43-45
Morgan ‘14 Out of all the incredible experiences Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy High School offers to its students, my favorite would be the chance to explore God outside of the classroom during Intercession. This year, I had the opportunity to travel to Cancun, Mexico with Back2Back Ministries, and I discovered how God needs to be the ultimate Source in our lives. Each morning, our group would delve into individual devotions and meaningful small groups to better understand the way we go to other “sources” to sustain ourselves daily. From money, to relationships, to even doing good deeds for the wrong reasons, I found that each of us crave Living Water – we just look in all the wrong places. One sun-scorching morning, our ministry team ventured to the underconstruction home of a widow who had been dreaming of a home for her family for years. The only thing she wanted was a roof to protect her children. Our mission for the day was to pump water from a make-shift well, shovel rocks and sand, mix concrete with shovels, and haul the concrete in buckets to the top of the house where it would be poured to form a roof. All this had to be completed in one day and in the 90 degree weather with no mixing machine and also with no shade. Just pumping water from the well was hard work; it took intense labor from at least 3 people to fill up a single bucket of water. The shoveling was vigorous, and even the strong football players were struggling to lift the concrete to the roof. After approximately 3 hours, we heard discouraging news – we were only about a fourth of the way done, yet all of us felt like we were going to fall over and die. Even the Back2Back staff said it was the hardest day of work they had experienced in Cancun. A staff member called us into the house for a little pep talk. “You are getting to experience what it really means to give your whole body to Christ,” he explained. “We are physically incapable of finishing this job today by ourselves. We are dehydrated, sore, tired, and frustrated. Our bodies are dying. But with God’s help, we can complete this job and give these children a home.” Not only were we dehydrated physically, but we were dehydrated spiritually. Without the Living Water of God inside of us, we could not complete the task at hand. We needed God to be our Source to give us the power to continue.
We prayed “popcorn style” over the house and over the people who would live in it, and then the staff member prayed in Spanish. I have never experienced such a waterfall of the Holy Spirit like this before. Though I could make out phrases of what he was saying, many others could not speak Spanish at all, yet the whole of us experienced the same effect. We could sense the Spirit of God in the room with us. After this, we completed the roof with God’s strength. We encouraged each other and picked each other up. We reminded each other to keep hydrated both with a physical source and also with the Source of God. The theme of the week, at least for me, was perfectly depicted in this tough situation.
My favorite Bible verse states: “The fear of God is a spring of Living Water so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells” (Proverbs 14:27). As I learned throughout the week in Cancun, we all need to drink from the right Source in our lives. God has given us many sources to draw from, such as community or success, but if we drink only from those sources, we aren’t drawing Living Water from the right well. Poisoned wells might quench our thirst for a little bit, but eventually they will make us sick and can even lead to death. God is the one Source that we should be drinking from daily, and the more we refresh and hydrate ourselves in Him, the less we will be straying off from the right path and trying to satisfy our bodies and our souls with other sources. However, if we drink the Living Water and we turn to the real Source, we can accomplish anything and can bring glory to His kingdom.
Abby ‘13 This past May Term, I went to John’s Island, South Carolina on a mission trip. I was a bit nervous about going, but not because I had to shower outside or sleep on a concrete floor. Rather, I was nervous because I had never been on a mission trip that did not involve orphanages, extreme poverty, and languages beside English, and therefore did not know what to expect from this trip. But, why should that make me nervous instead of all the more excited to spend a week doing what God needed me to do to better His kingdom? With this in mind, I set out to make the most of this trip while trying to uncover God’s reasoning for sending me to John’s Island. Upon our arrival, we went to the typical Sunday church service at the church where we were staying. Though the service was two hours long, it was refreshing. These people are on fire for the Lord and what He has planned for them. And they are willing to share that mission and the message within the mission to anyone who visits them, even if those visitors are 40 high school kids from Cincinnati. The atmosphere of community and humility surrounding this church service would set the tone for the rest of our trip as a whole. Throughout the week, I found that by opening myself and allowing myself to be vulnerably receptive to God’s agenda instead of my own, I took away so much from this trip. In our smaller work group, my group was assigned to a house in which we were to simply tile a floor, fix a door, and install a dryer vent and kitchen cabinets. Though at times these tasks were frustrating and tested our group’s limits as regards patience and tolerance of each other, they taught me a lot. But primarily, I was reminded that things do not always go as planned. But, when the man that lived at the house we worked at all week said “thank you, God bless you for blessing me,” I realized that my plan does not take precedence over God’s plan. A new kitchen floor and cabinets may not seem like much to us, but to the family we helped, it meant that they now have a place to eat, a place to walk, and a place to live in community with each other. The importance of community struck my heart as a recurring idea that would not leave me alone during the week. In our work project one day, I was asked to paint a mural. I’m not much of an artist, but I didn’t think it would be too hard. I was wrong. But, slowly throughout the day, about four more girls in my group asked if they could help me paint, and I jumped to be the first one to tell them yes. Our mural turned out to be beautiful. Likewise, while we were at the beach, the group that I hung out with decided we were going to make the most out of our day. We swam, sang, ran around, and even built a pyramid. Had I sat by myself for the entire day, I would have missed out on the joy that laughter and community allow for. Even though painting and going to the beach were not necessarily part of a day of working labor, I still noticed how vital these events were for our group as we connected together as a community that began to know each other instead of merely working together. And these two events also showed me a glimpse of what God was aiming to show me throughout this trip: with the help of a selfless community, God was turning this trip, which for me started as a blank canvas, into a work of art in and of itself. He was carefully crafting my experiences throughout this week to be something fearfully and wonderfully made by the work of His hands. On our last day of work, we helped another group with roofing at the house of a lady named Barbara. I did not get a chance to speak to Barbara personally, but in the nine hours that I was at her house, I gained a better appreciation for multiple things. Why, at the outset of this trip, was I so nervous while people like Barbara were not? Shouldn’t it have been the opposite, considering Barbara was allowing twenty five teenagers to completely re-roof her house with hammers, nails, and shingles that we did not know how to use? But instead, Barbara selflessly spent her entire week getting to know the names of the people who were working at her house. She took time to tell people her story, and aimed to get to know theirs as well. Though I could simply say that by spending one day at Barbara’s I learned how to roof, I know that would be shallow. I did learn to roof, but once again, I was shown the spirit of humility, selflessness, sacrifice, and community that had been appearing to me throughout the entire week. This trip, in a nutshell, was an experience I will not forget. I learned how to do different types of physical labor that I did not dream of ever learning to do. As a result, I will not take those things like a roof over my head, a kitchen counter to eat over, or a level floor to walk on in my house for granted. But, despite the tangible things I learned, I also learned the following: God’s agenda trumps my own, His plan for me, for my group members, and for the people of John’s Island is not over, and, above all else, when one can learn to live in genuine community with others, life can be so much sweeter and kinder than when lived alone.
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