Serving on This Side of the World

Serving on This Side of the World

Our desire in Swaziland was to be like Jesus who came to “preach good news
to the poor … bind up the brokenhearted … proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners … to comfort all who mourn and to
bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61). We were so
thankful that He used us in these ways, and yet there is more work to be done to
bring justice to the orphans and the poor and “freedom for the captives”.
Saint Teresa of Avila wrote, “Christ has no body on earth but yours, no
hands but yours, no feet but yours. Ours are the eyes through which Christ’s
compassion for the world is to look out. Yours are the feet with which He is to
go about doing good, and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”
I confess that I was blind about, or rather, daily chose to ignore the needs of
the poor and brokenhearted. But now I have seen. And now I must act. James 2
says “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” and “As the
body without she spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” So let’s ask
the Lord to use us to carry out his good work and put our faith in action.
We were also humbled this trip to see the reality of James 2:5 “Has not God
chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to
inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” There are many Swazi
brothers and sisters in Christ and children who are very rich indeed!
We saw the Name of the Lord praised daily through the children’s sweet
songs sung from a pure heart of faith. Psalm 8:1-2 says “O LORD, our Lord, how
majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the
heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because
of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger (silence the devil / Satan
and his work).” How sweet the sound of Swazi song! We might express it like
this:
The Smell of Swaziland / Fragrant Aroma of Christ
Rose of Sharon
The sweetest perfume
Stronger fragrance
fill this room (of my heart)
That is stinking and selfish
and cares little for justice
But it is just You and just us
to help and to hold these precious Swazi souls
Shine brighter in us. Let us be clean vessels to reflect You …
Brighter than the Morning Star
That they may see Your good works and glorify the Father in heaven.
I smell like Swaziland! And I like the smell.
And we were humbled. Not by their poverty, but by our own poverty of faith
and compassion and joy. The Swazi faith is one of simple strong beauty.
Ours gets entangled and complicated by materialism and can have a facade of
makeup trying to cover pretense, pride, self-righteousness and outright
selfishness. Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew 18:3-5, “I tell you the truth,
unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the
kindom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the
greatest in the kindom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this
in my name welcomes me.”
Let us belt out with joy the best song of all, the song of salvation that
is found in Jesus alone and the song of life that is ours in Christ alone. It is
Him we praise and adore. And let us serve him humbly with a pure heart of faith.
And let us act. Thank you all for your strong prayers of faith for us while we
were serving in Swaziland. Now pray for us to serve as strongly on this side of
the world. God’s blessings.
 —–Dr. Mike Ikeler
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