Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Priority of People, Not Places

My presentation about the Jordan trip is finally done, and I'm sharing it with our prayer partners at a nursing facility in Fulton today. Those sweet friends prayed me through. Today, they're getting their fruit report.

I've read back over my notes and looked through every photograph. The presentation's filled with pictures of Jordan, Israel, the Biblical sites I visited, Masada, the Bedouin trip, and the camels we rode. 

All those photographs are interesting, but they aren't the real story. The "real story" is the people I met and loved, and the ones who loved me back. The photographs of the new believer, the pastors who labor in the field, and the churches that are struggling to survive in difficult times despite heartbreaking persecution are the ones that matter most. 

I've saved them, the best part of the trip, for last.

Sunday, I skipped the museum trip and walked around Jerusalem. I wanted living people, not ancient history.

I sat on a bench with a elderly man who offered me a cigarette, which I declined, and listened to him talk about his life and home in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Teenagers from the United States chatted with me as they set up fake musical instruments for a YouTube video. I listened as they shared about their videos and performances and reveled in their excitement about filming outside the Damascus gate of Old Jerusalem.

A tourist from Michigan shared her excitement about visiting Israel for the first time.

A Palestinian man shared his lunch with me while we sat in a Muslim cemetery beneath the Eastern Gate.

It was the people that made the day memorable. They're the part I hope I remember forever.

As I looked over my photographs, I realized that I can easily be so drawn to the beauty of a setting and it's historical significance that I miss the people there. I'm afraid I do that here at home, too. 

It's easy for me to get so wrapped up in my work that I neglect the people in my life. I fail to schedule lunches with friends because "there's too much to do to take a break." I eat a quick meal at home and go back to work rather than invite people over. 

If I'm not careful, I can end up investing my life in work and words and places and things rather than the people God has placed in my life.

There will always be work to do, prayers to pray, places to go. People, though, are fragile, fleeting creatures who can't be recalled once they're gone. Today, I'm choosing to be more intentional about the friends and family I love, respect, and cherish. 

Who do you cherish? With what friends should you reconnect today? What family member needs a phone call or a text? Work can't be avoided, but let's take the time to reach out to those we love, as well. Let's show the love we say we feel.

"Three things will last forever- faith, hope, love - and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
ps - The photo above is of Maria Geno, project manager for Global Outreach Home office, Ruthie Howard (Uganda) and Misty Bodkin (crisic management)

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Wearing the White Servant Scarf

I'm sharing about my Jordan Journey at a brunch April 1 at 10:30-12 at Global Outreach home office, 74 Kings Highway, Pontotoc MS. Comment or message me if you'd like to come.

If God has called you to help with this ministry of digital and in-person outreach, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.


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