And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
A tree, I have read, has a wide root base and thrives in well nourished soil. The roots often extend several feet beyond the canopy of the tree.
No, I am not becoming an Arboriculturist. I just have been picturing our ministry like a tree, and roots, and fruit and soil. It makes a really neat picture actually.The roots and dirt are what we are working on now. The Lord planted the seed in Dan's heart sometime in 2005. Where it finally died.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: ... John 12:24aIt took sooooo long for that seed to germinate and even become a seedling. Years of institute, prayer, dreaming, praying, moving, selling, downsizing, praying, and preparation went into that little sprout.
[sprout=(someday)tree=Our ministry to Reach Zambia!]
Then... deputation. I had always understood that deputation is primarily for raising funds. While it is in fact fund raising, it is so much more! Faith raising and Prayer raising are also huge products of deputation! (I wish they were as easy to measure in percentage points!) We have learned faith in God and trust in ways that are so very real, and we feel like we have learned them to the core of our being.
(I realize this could have been said of the children of Israel also. I mean they saw the plagues against Egypt, and the Red Sea part... and then three days later they were whining about water. I pray we learn from their example, and remember the Lord's provision and promise... long past three days into it! I think Deuteronomy 8 was written to us as well as them. We must never forget who it is that has brought us through!)
Now that we are actually seeing the end of deputation, I am so aware that all of this really isn't going anywhere without prayer. We can "do" until we can "do" no more, but without the power of God, it will amount to nothing but sand through our fingers.
... but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." John 12:24bSo where am I going with the whole "root and dirt" that we are working on now?
Mental Imagery here.... work with me!
The roots are all the churches and individuals and families who have come along side us in financial partnership. Some larger and substantial, while so many others are smaller, yet so vital to supply the sprout with all it needs. In truth, the plant could not survive with out them. While the roots truly supply the sprout with the means to grow the tree and someday bear (much!) fruit, all the roots in the world won't help a tree unless they are surrounded with quality soil.... I know our soil is PRAYER!
While I am not minimizing the fact that it takes money to get (us!) to the field, we have had money supplied in unbelievable ways. And not all of them involve people from churches.... or even the body of Christ! We have received financial help from some of the craziest places and in some amazing ways. (Imagine... a refund from overpayment of state taxes!! REALLY?!!)
But... I have never had anyone outside the body of Christ tell me they were praying for me. Or my family. Or our ministry. Or the people in Chipata that desperately need to hear about Jesus. ONLY God's people will pray. And truth be told, we need a lot more prayer than I can even imagine. A whole dirt load of prayer. Enough prayer to hold the roots of a (Lord willing!) mighty tree that will bear fruit for generations to come, should He tarry!
And the coolest thing? Prayer is free!! Not to be confused with cheap... it took the precious blood of Christ. His sacrifice not only made a way for my redemption, it made a way for the door of prayer to be flung wide open for us to enter the throne of grace Boldly and Whenever we want. Oh that we would pray more! That I would pray more!!
So... who wants in on holding some roots?