These devotions are for a future book of stories called “Deep Roots.” I’d love your feedback and ideas. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook/Twitter.
Across the Pea Patch
This is a story I wrote a few months before the death of my hero, Don Hunt.
I often write about traveling to far off places to share the good news of Jesus. Whether it’s Africa or Honduras, I always feel privileged to “go and tell.” Acts 1:8 tells us to “go to the ends of the earth.”
However, the greatest mission and ministry opportunities are right where we are. In the same verse in Acts, Jesus called it “Jerusalem.”
It’s the place we are.
Where we live.
Where we already know the culture, don’t have to learn a new language, get immunizations or a passport.
I was reminded of this today as I talked to Don Hunt.
Don Hunt is one of the people I admire most. He was my pastor for ten years, but he is much more than that.
He is my friend.
He’s also one of my heroes.
He refreshed my memory about this story I’m sharing. It’s a “Jerusalem” story. In this case, Jerusalem is a purple hull pea patch in Dry Creek.
When Bro. Don became our pastor in 1992, he began doing what he does best: building relationships. After he’d been in Dry Creek for a few weeks, he walked across the adjacent field to meet his neighbor, Arthur Crow.
Mr. Arthur’s wife, Annie Mae, was already a member of our congregation at Dry Creek Baptist Church. Mr. Arthur, now retired from driving the road grader for the police juror, was not a church-going man. He was a good man, but seemingly had no interest in church or outward spiritual things.
When Bro. Don walked over, Mrs. Annie Mae directed him to the pea patch where her husband was working. Don Hunt introduced himself and they visited as Mr. Crow said, “Let’s walk to the end of the row here.”
It was there that our pastor asked, “Mr. Arthur, I’ve just come to introduce myself and share Jesus with you.”
Mr. Aruthur was ready. “I’m ready for Jesus. You just need to tell me what I need to do.”
There between the rows of peas, Arthur Crow, in simple faith turned his life and heart over to Jesus. He asked for forgiveness of his sins and “a new start.”
And that’s just what he got. He became a new man. It was evident to everyone. He had a quiet joy in the Lord and became a faithful member of our church.
When Mr. Arthur was buried this week, Don Hunt couldn’t be there. He’s battling cancer and has been sick.
I called Bro. Don this morning and listened as he joyfully told me what I’m now sharing with you. I reminded him, “Arthur Crow is in heaven because of your witness.”
His reply was, “I just arrived at the right time. He was ready due to a lifetime of praying by his family and church.”
I know he’s right on that, but Don Hunt had the courage and love to step across the field to share with his neighbor. And on that day, a man was ready for new life and new birth.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s easier to fly to Africa to share about Jesus than to walk across the pea patch to a neighbor. It shouldn’t be, but it can be.
However, it’s no excuse for me not to.
Jesus talks about it in Acts 1:8 Jerusalem, Judea (our area), Samaria (anywhere where it’s difficult), the ends of the Earth.
It’s not a multiple-choice quiz. He calls us to be involved in some form in each area.
It may be the bush of the Congo or a piney woods pea patch.
Either way, it’s a privilege.
Either way, it’s an awesome responsibility.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
*Leave this world better than you found it. It’s a good goal to have. Each of us is uniquely gifted by God to touch those around us.
There’s a story of a man who always carried a small can of oil in his pocket. Whenever he encountered a squeaky door, he pulled out his faithful can and oiled the door hinges.
He was doing his own little part in “leaving this world better than you found it.”
It may be a kind word.
It may mean praying with a discouraged person.
It can be simply being generous with our time, money, and love.
For many of you, helping a child or young person is your can of oil.
It may even literally be carrying around a can of oil (or something ‘hands on.’) Taking your concern and passion and developing it to do good.
You probably won’t carry a can of oil in your pocket, but you always carry something that’s much more important. It’s your words.
We can help others in so many ways. Often, folks need our words, ears, and presence to help with their “squeaky hinges.”
It’s the duty and privilege of every follower of Jesus: doing our part to help others on our journey through life. Through our words of encouragement, advice, even correction.
It’s summed up in Jesus’ command of “Do unto others, as you’d have them do unto you.”
It can be as simple as leaving behind a chain of “unsqueaky doors” for the benefit of others.
It’s also one of the keys to a joyous life. Helping others brings fulfillment and purpose.
Leaving this world a better place is a commitment.
It’s a daily decision.
It’s not flashy and won’t make the evening news, but it’s our job.
No, it’s not our job.
It’s our calling.
A calling to leave this world a little better than we found it.
“We can do no extraordinary things. We can only do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” –Mother Teresa
Prayer: Lord, I cannot change the entire world, but with your help, I can change a part of my world. Use me today. Open my eyes to see the opportunities in my life to help others. Amen.