“Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:15-17, NLT).
The holidays have passed. The New Year is well under way. But I keep thinking about a woman who came to our Christmas outreach. Mind you, it was a children’s outreach. But she had heard there would be hot chocolate. I know, it may surprise you. But here in the Amazon Jungle where we are nearly always enjoying weather in the 80s, the people absolutely love hot chocolate. No snow necessary to put them in the mood for it. (Which is good because it’s never going to snow here in the tropics!)
The thing about it, though, is, that they can hardly ever afford hot chocolate. That’s what makes it an extra special treat and a wonderful draw for outreaches. That’s what brought this precious woman to the door of our church that day, a week before Christmas.
The event was not scheduled to start until 5:00 pm. She was there at 3:00 pm, waiting. She did not bring any children. She brought herself. She just wanted some hot chocolate. She patiently waited nearly three hours for the program to begin (like a good Peruvian production, it started almost an hour late). She watched all the colorful choreographies, skits, and other gospel activities designed for little ones to learn about Jesus’ birth. Then it was finally time. The hot chocolate was ready!
She got her hot chocolate accompanied by tasty sweet bread. And, I pray with all my heart, along with it she got new experiential knowledge about the way that Jesus loves her. I pray that she could see Him in our eyes, in our faces, in our body language, as we served up that cup with all of our love. I pray that when she went home, savoring that special treat, she was feeling His presence. Jesus wanted her to have the desire of her heart that day. And He wants so much more than that for her.
How devoid of pleasures her life must be, if she would wait five hours for a cup of hot chocolate! Right now, I feel His ache for her – His aching desire for her to know how loved she is. I am deeply grateful that we were able to provide that gesture of His love to her. May we be His hands and His heart, every day. May someone find out that Jesus loves them through the way live our lives… going out of our way so they would know.
Has sharing Jesus’ love in a tangible way brought you special joy recently?