One of the things I love most about Christianity is that we follow a lead-by-example God. Jesus never asked his disciples to do anything that he did not do himself. This God we follow came right down into the trenches of human struggle and lead us by example into what he called the Kingdom of God – a better way of being human and doing human life together. On June 16th, a team of your pastors and your young people followed our lead-by-example God to a place called Goodland Academy.
Goodland is just that – it’s a good land – a beautiful place for people to call home when the homes they know are either taken from them (as in the case of the tribesmen and women forcibly re-located) or are not meeting the complex needs of children having difficulty reaching their full potential (as in the case of the students living at Goodland today). The students and staff at Goodland are our neighbors, fellow believers who need a few extra hands and feet to accomplish their mission and steward their land. It is an honor and a privilege to join God in God’s work by following Christ there and serving.
As is our habit, we come ready to accept any challenge or task, and we work long, hard days to exceed expectations. Jesus exceeded expectations on a regular basis, so following his example, we come intending to do more and bless more abundantly than anyone expected. When we are able to do that, we image Christ, and we follow his example. The expectation was that in four days’ time we would chop, split, and stack an enormous dead tree for firewood. We chopped, split, and stacked the wood of not one, not two, but three dead trees. There were three trees on Golgotha’s hill. It was the least we could do.
God is a lead-by-example God who loves pursuantly, forgives lavishly, serves sacrificially, and is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. When we take our young people to places like Goodland Academy to practice sacrificial service by doing more than is asked for or imagined, we give them the gift of living-out facets of their faith in the hope and expectation that given the chance, they will live-out other facets like lavish forgiveness and pursuant love with grace and ease because they know how to follow Christ’s example. Lord, make it true also, for each of us. — Laurel