TITLE: Called to Serve 6/22/14
By Richard McCaw
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Called to serve
Comfort! Comfort! Comfort! We love cushioned seats, spacious aeroplanes, expensive hotels, suites well decorated with the latest entertainment technology, traveling on escalators, eating packaged lunches. In fact, if we could we might choose an expensive restaurant every day. We prefer the easy way: to sit back and be served! I soon discovered that Christ had called us to the rough road of service to others. He died to free us from selfish desires, to send us into a very needy world to provide deliverance to the lost, sick, hungry and dying!
In those days you could see where the whole society was heading. Politically, tensions were high in Jamaica, because people’s basic needs for food, shelter and clothes were putting a heavy strain on their ability to cope with everyday living. The church had not yet caught the vision for ministering in the ghetto areas of Kingston. Crime was on the rise. The Garvey movement was growing. The mass of people were listening to philosophies that had taken strong root overseas in America, particularly the Black power movement. Most of the population began to move towards answers that seemed more practical than what they termed ‘pie-in-the-sky’ theology offered by most evangelical organizations. Reaching out for the material comforts of life, greed and selfishness reigned like gods everywhere. The Christian ideal of sacrificing comforts to serve others was a concept easily discarded in that atmosphere.
However, service meant work and I was prepared to work my brain, search my spirit, pray and do whatever it took to reach the boys given to me. However late at night it took, I was ready for it!
When I ran away from Sunday school at eight, I remember how bored I was. Now, I determined to make my class exciting. So, the first Saturday night I had it all planned to teach that wonderful scripture: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Making up the first story about a boy caught stealing grapes and eventually forgiven was fun. Stealing grapes had been an old pastime of mine, before I realized how much God loved me and sacrificed His Son for me. The excitement of looking around before snatching a bunch of grapes, hiding my booty, running as fast as I could, helped me to portray the part of a thief quite well.
When I began my first Sunday School lesson, I was like a movie actor. I lightened my voice to sound like a little boy, then pitched it high to mimic his mother and lowered it for his father. Then, I acted like an older woman seated on her front porch. I mimicked every bodily and facial movement of the chief characters. Little boys sat on the edge of their seats, their bright eyes following every movement, drinking in every word that fell from my lips. I was learning to preach. Every week my own stories illustrated biblical truth. Sometimes, I dramatized Bible stories.
The reaction was always electric. God was using me to write indelible truths in young lives and it was exciting to see where He was leading!
At the same time practicing the dramatic arts was preparing me to write several short stories for children and teenagers which would later be published in several magazines. Not to mention that I was learning the art of telling stories like Jesus did. These skills would one day enhance my ministry to teenagers in many schools, youth meetings and Boy’s and Girl’s clubs where I would one day teach drama and witness for the Master.
As I listened to and watched some of the greatest preachers, I learned that simple language, dramatic use of voice, hands, and body movements impressed the Word of God deep in the hearts of their audiences. As a thirteen year old, I remembered how Harold Wildish, architect of one of Jamaica’s strongest denominations preached, holding his audience spellbound with story after story. I was not interested in philosophical considerations of theology. In later years, as I listened to Billy Graham on radio, or in crusades, he too used the Master’s technique.
Since then, I have often seen a young Sunday school teacher endeavoring to explain the way of salvation to little children. They become restless as he or she reads scripture, philosophizes and drones on in an adult way. Such a teacher would do well to learn the Master’s way: “Without a parable He did not speak to them.” Jesus’ audience always listened spellbound whenever he ministered. Next day, each one invited others until the crowds swelled so much the religious Pharisees grew jealous and tried to kill Him.
It was exciting each Sunday morning as I faced my class of boys. I thought, some child might grow into a fine young soldier for the King of kings and one day proclaim deliverance from sin. Paul, the apostle commends Lois, and Eunice, young Timothy’s grandmother and mother, whose faith so influenced Timothy that he later traveled with Paul, taking the message of hope to multitudes in the ancient world.
I had heard the Master’s voice calling me to be a disciple. He is the Great Role Model, and all who walk with Him and watch Him, begin to be like Him and to do what He does.
A whole world out there is asking a million questions, seeking solutions to life’s problems, waiting on us to provide answers and to demonstrate God’s supernatural power. Will we follow Jesus out there and meet the challenge of a dying world?
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