Ephesians 2:4-6 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
A fundraiser… Not an ordinary one, not a lavish one, not one to increase some organization's wealth or to pad someone's wallet… The children sheltered at Christ Our Refuge Children's Home, in Nairobi, Kenya, made some exotic art work to be sold at a church in Canada. The children took the wings from dead butterflies and glued them to paper to make unforgettable masterpieces. Some took human form, others the form of a dwelling, but the one that caught my eye was in the form of a colorful parrot. I can't even imagine the hours of work that was poured into these works of art, and it was obvious that there was also plenty of love and prayers put into the pictures as well. And that's how they were received by churches. It was like they were receiving butterfly kisses straight from Africa!
What would the orphanage do with the money they received? They use it to save more of the homeless children from the slums of Nairobi. They want to reach out to more and more of the kids no one wants! The Undesirables! The kinds that otherwise would end up in crime, prostitution, and disease! They want to offer them shelter, food, an education, and a real purpose in life.
What drives this orphanage? Their love for the lost children in Nairobi. They are fully aware where most of these abandoned children are heading: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt 7:13-14 NIV)
It is no life to sleep on the street in a cardboard box with an empty belly! It is no life to have to beg or rely on crime and prostitution to get food to survive! It is no life to face AIDS, desperate and alone!
But what about those of us in the Western world? We have so much more, yet do we fare any better? We have homes, food in abundance and security, but how many of us really enjoy true living? There are so few who aren't addicted to nasty habits that keep them from enjoying what we could have been. There are so few of us who truly walk around with a big smile on our faces!
Are we truly living, or do we barely exist from one moment to another?
There are a few who really enjoy real living. I am not talking about the con artist who pretends all is well while his whole life is falling apart. I'm talking about those who really, truly enjoy every moment of their life. These rare people all have one thing in common: they truly know the One who brought them life!
Only One is the way! Only One is the truth! Only one is life, real life! Only One can bring us to heaven! Jesus is the One who can give each one a true purpose! He is the One who can make us truly enjoy life, even though our circumstances may be far from ideal. He is the one who can give us true hope!
His love is more than enough to envelop anyone who opens up to Him, asking Him to provide them with real living. And real living He will truly provide!
Dear Lord, thank You for the true joy that You can bring to each of us. Help us live our life in Your joy. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.