The Gate, our gate. It is a rather obnoxious red and it causes a hernia every time it is opened because it weighs a ton. We open and close it a trillion times everyday. It begins every morning around 7, sometimes earlier and ends at sundown or a bit before. The familiar sound of a rock tapping to let us know someone outside needs to see us. Sometimes it is Sherlande, Lydia’s playmate. Her mom works all day 6 days a week so Sherlande, at 7 years old, entertains herself until she just can’t stand it one more minute and she taps. Now listen folks, tapping DOES NOT STOP until the gate is answered so we run, and sometimes I desperately yell on the way there, “I’m coming!!!”. Always perfectly civilly, I promise (fingers crossed). Sometimes Lydia can play and sometimes she cannot but everyday, a few times a day…she taps. It’s Etienne many times a week, coming because she is hungry. It is my neighbor who wonders if I could keep all my glass jars so she can have them to sell homemade peanut butter in. We are up to 10 so she will be tapping soon to pick them up. It is Apredye coming to pick up or drop off Jessie’s Moto that he has borrowed and sometimes it is Jessie. It is Soucitha because her daughter is sick and it is Apredye because his niece died and he is humbly asking for help paying to move her body and prep her for burial. Many times people don’t tap and they just yell, “tolbos!” to which Kris responds, “yea, yea!” It is Ludens or Sadak who so bad want to work with KONBIT that they stop by many times a week to remind us of their desire and willing hearts. The taps keep coming. Some days many every hour. We are a small organization without the very common gate guard so the opening of the gate is done by us. I minister by that gate many times every day. Prayer happens at the gate. Conversations about the future of 2 bright young men happen by our gate. I receive requests for medicines, prayer, jobs, food, candy. A precious gaggle of children have been known to stop after school to see if they can say hi to our youngest. We give from what we have at that gate. As I was praying about sharing this gate blessing/curse today, I was reminded of a gate in the Bible. The gate beautiful. Check this out.
Acts 3:1-6 “Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
After this Peter reached out to help him up and the man was healed. As he was praising God and celebrating, the town went crazy because everyone knew this guy and knew he was crippled.
I have always loved this passage not because I feel motivated to pray for healing everywhere but because Peter and John were obedient with what they had. The man asked for money and they said look at us. Rachael’s commentary says it was because a simple inspection would reveal that these were not wealthy men. I can so relate. The gate in the Bible is believed to have been a truly magnificent gate. Mine not so much. When people come to our gate we give from what we have, because that is what God asks us to do. We do not always have money. Our amazing donors give faithfully and then we turn around and do the same. I have an illustration in my mind of water running through the fingers of a hand.
You give generously and it pours in, we give generously and it pours out. We are, more times that I would like, simply unable to help financially. Often times it keeps pouring out of our hands and we just do not keep enough back for our personal expenses and we find ourselves stuck having to find money where it just isn’t. Sometimes at the gate we can only give what we have. We reach the end of ourselves and we look at the people at our gate and say, look at us, we are out of physical resource but God is not out in any department. Let’s ask God together to meet your need. At those moments, and there are many, with tears we trust our God to meet needs only He can. We ask him to heal bodies and hearts. We give him the reigns again and are reminded that what HE has and who HE is, is the greatest gift we can give.
Like Peter and John gave from what they had, what is God asking you to give? Are you like us sometimes and you are being asked to pour finances into needs around you? Are you like us other times and God is asking you to surrender to Him the needs of others in prayer. Maybe you have access to another resource that you could never imagine would be a blessing to someone in need. I have an example. A sweet friend, who was in our youth group around 400 years ago, is in Veterinary school. She is someone I have connected to every so often with questions regarding our goats and such. I touched base with her a few months ago because I was in desperate need of medication for our fur babies here. I had run out and could not seem to get my hands on what I needed/wanted for our dog. I was a worried because we moved our older dog here and he is really important to us, especially Levi. Anyway, I reached out to her looking for specific meds and she responded right away saying, “I happen to be standing at the table, in a veterinary pharmaceutical show, staring at one of the medications you are needing”. I thought, “huh…well that’s nifty.” I asked her if she thought she could help and she went to work. A few months later, I have all my fur baby needs plus more. Way to be Julie! I wonder if she imagined that a missionary in Haiti might really need her help. I needed what she had to offer as a vet student who I am sure is broke, busy and exhausted. She served us in a way that helps us to serve here in Haiti. I wonder how often I miss the opportunity to serve because I am insecure about what I have to offer. So we find ourselves at the gate, hopefully for your sanity not 42 times a day. It may be ugly like mine or beautiful like the one in Bible but we are being given an opportunity to serve. Let’s give from what we have, that is all God is asking. I will give from the gifts I have and the resources I have. That is all any of us can do.
Last parting thought. You cannot give to other people using other people’s gifts. Meaning don’t have skill and gift envy…like I do. Being transparent here. Really wish I was a Doctor some days. Really wish I was a CEO type other days. Instead, I am a MOM…like a boss. So when I go to minister, that is what I do, I mom…yes it is a verb! Quiet down. Here is the lesson I am screaming at myself, Don’t be paralyzed by what you cannot do, be motivated to do what you CAN do. Excuse me, I have to run, there is someone at the gate and they may need me to mom.