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IMG20191110122907Laurie and I returned from Bangladesh about a month ago. I had been invited to speak to a group of pastors led by a friend whom we met when we lived in India. We were excited to be given this opportunity. I prayed and hope that the truths I spoke edified the pastors and the Lord God Almighty was and will be glorified.

Our friend generously hosted us, allowing us to stay in his home and enjoy meals with him there. It is in this setting that Laurie and I witnessed wonderful examples of servanthood, displayed by our friend’s wife and daughter-in-law. We were struck by the servants’ hearts of these two women of God.

During our mealtimes there, Laurie and I noticed how closely the two women watched us as they waited and served. It was a little uncomfortable until we grew used to it. They took note of how much we ate of the different dishes they put on the table. They endeavored to serve the foods for which we showed preference. They also noticed that I drank coffee only at breakfast but mango juice at any time. (I was often in need of the energy boost because the speaking schedule was packed.) We were grateful that our Christian sisters lovingly cared for us, and we told them so.

One time, early in our stay, we were uncertain about the time for one of the meals and came down to the kitchen/dining area early. Within seconds, the two ladies emerged from another room. It wasn’t long before they had put plates on the table and were preparing food. The women served us because they thought we were hungry and wanted to hospitably provide. We did not ask for anything—they just proceeded to serve. Once, while we were eating a light dinner, our host had a cup of tea in front of him on the dining table. One of the sisters walked by on her way out of the room and quickly and deftly placed a saucer on top of his cup to keep it hot. He didn’t ask her to do it, she anticipated the need and just did it.

It was here that a wonderful thought went through my head. The Lord was like these two Christians. Better said, I’m sure, is that they were like Him.

How so?

First, when our sisters worked to provide us a meal when we came to dine early, the Father knows what we need and moves to provide it. He takes action according to our needs before we even ask. Just as the sister placed the saucer on the steaming cup on her way out of the room, He anticipates a need we may not know we even have. In the verses preceding the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew, Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7–8). Since we are so very needy, in spite of our opinion otherwise, the Lord is always at work at this task.

Second, like the sisters observed us to determine what we enjoyed most, the Lord watches us, as well. He knows what we have need of and what we don’t. This truth about God’s watchfulness has been under siege in recent years in an attempt to portray Him as an evil Santa Claus or a governmental Big Brother, frowningly stalking us so He can condemn us or make our lives difficult at His whim. This is a disgraceful attack on the character of our Creator. In His love, the Lord is indeed constantly vigilant over each one of us to meet our needs perfectly. How one perceives that action is determined by how one perceives God.

In ways that those beloved Christian women could never perceive, the Father knows what we need eternally. Those essentials may not be what we think are good or necessary, from our limited, earth-bound, non-eternal understanding of things. Far beyond meeting our physical necessities like food, God’s desire for us is true, rich spiritual life. He seeks to have Jesus formed in us, and that we, “being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” and “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19). 1

Thank You, Father, for your marvelous love. Please, may we have Jesus’ servant’s heart and the love of our Lord that surpasses knowledge.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

 

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