Isn't it amazing how God seems to send us little reminders throughout the day to help keep us on track? His timing is uncanny (what else do you expect from someone both omniscient and omnipotent?) and I have to admit that a couple of times this week I have not just been reminded but humbled.
Sunday morning Randy was finishing up a sermon series entitled Being a Servant in a World of Bosses. The message was about how we need to find ways to help people everywhere: those in our immediate vicinity, people here in Salvador and people throughout Brazil and the rest of the world. As he was concluding his message, we heard some loud voices in the doorway. It was a group of about a half dozen men and one women, all noticeably poor and most quite noticeably drunk. One of our members greeted them at the door and invited them to come in and sit down. They not-so-quietly sat while we finished our worship time.
A couple of minutes after they arrived, I heard noises coming from the kitchen. Several of us stay on Sundays for a communal lunch so I went back to see who had started cooking. I discovered Leandro (recently baptized) and Lurdes (still working on her!) cooking away.
"Oh good," I said. "You've started lunch!" (Often we don't get lunch ready until 1:30 or later and my English class starts at 2:00, leaving me with very little time.)
"No," Leandro said. "This food is for the people who came in. They're hungry and we can't let them walk away that way! This is our chance to serve."
And then today: I was in a mood this morning. Nothing was where I needed it to be. No one was doing what I wanted them to do. I was especially annoyed at our maid, Antonia, for no particular reason other than the usual list of petty annoyances. (Anyone who has had a maid in Brazil will understand!) But today it was just too much. I was grumpy and short with Russ, Jackson and Antonia.
I decided to go take a shower while Russ tended to Jackson. When I got out of the shower I went to do some work in the kitchen where Antonia was also working. As we worked she started telling me how much she appreciates the way we treat her. She said that she thinks of us as "Mom and Dad" (even though she's a few years older than us and has two kids!). She was just marveling at our kindness, how we brought her and her boys back gifts from furlough and how we share things we don't need/want anymore with her.
Again, that timing! I was so humbled.
I'm trying hard these days to be who God wants me to be, to leave behind all the worldly values that seem to have rubbed off on me. God seems to be taking me at my word and giving me plenty of opportunity to stay on track!
edit: I need to say that I am truly grateful for Antonia and the help she is to me, as well as for the monthly help that someone gives us to employ her. We "survived" for our first couple of years without a maid so I truly appreciate the blessing she is, especially now that we have Jackson. There are days (like last week) that I am frustrated with the way she chooses to do things but I wouldn't trade her for anything!