LAST DAY AT THE TRACKS! Today was going to be our last day of working at the Tracks. Over the years this has been an emotionally tough day with many tears and hugs. In my travels here during the past nine years, I have learned it is all about the attitude and how we think about our work and friendships that have been made. My approach now is one of celebration; we know we will probably return at another time to renew our friendships and see the progress the community has made over the years. Its fun now because kids we met when they were 7 or 8 years old are now 15 or 16, growing up right in front our eyes. This brings us to our devotion for the day: the green paper is for growing in the Lord” (2 Peter 3:18). But grow in the special favor and knowledge of the Lord. I think back over the past nine years and the life experiences and growth in the Lord we have experienced throughout those years. And its the same with the Guatemalan people: they are maturing in their faith, and their community has had constant change and growth. So as we leave each year, we prefer to say “Te amo,” “Salud!” and “Hasta la vista amigo.”

Josh and his mural with Lucy and her children
Josh and his mural with Lucy and her children

We were tying up loose ends today as we sought out the people we wanted to see. Our groups artist, Josh, painted a beautiful mural on the wall of Lucy’s daughters’ bedroom. We finished the installation of the stairs at Sonya’s house. We took lots of pictures of friends, our group, and the blessings of the Tracks we wanted to remember. Some of us we knew it was the last time they would visit; others knew they would return later. Some knew they would be moving to Guatemala in July. Fortunately, with the advent of Facebook, our communication and interaction with the people of the Tracks has increased tenfold, and we feel much closer than we have ever been. We felt excitement, satisfaction, blessings, and so many feelings as we said good-bye to the Tracks.

Thinking Like a Servant was our topic for the day. This idea kindled the fire for our servanthood as we began thinking about returning home. As I have asked many times, what does our Guatemalan experience teach us? If we are truly in tune with God, our mission of servanthood awaits us on the coming Monday morning. Service starts in your mind. To be a servant requires a mental shift, a change in your attitude. Knowing why we do something is sometimes more significant than what we do. Attitudes count more than achievements. Jesus was our example as he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. Servants think more about others than about themselves. This is all wrapped in the “Loving God, Loving People” perspective which we have promoted over the years. True devotion to God means thinking of yourself as a servant in Gods Kingdom. It takes true humility to have God as your Savior and to love people more than yourself. It is hard to be a servant if you are full of yourself. Real servants don’t use God for their purpose; they let God use them for his purpose. Self-denial is the core of servanthood.

Servants think like stewards, not owners. In the Bible, a steward was a servant entrusted to manage an estate. This is where we need to remember that God owns everything. Our lives are gifts that have been given to us to manage as we serve the Lord. Money and time are the things with the greatest potential to replace God, so we must guard ourselves in our service. Servants of God are always more concerned about ministry than money. So the way we manage our (his) money and time affects how much God can bless our life. Be blessed!

As humans, we can get caught up in what other people are doing. This is so true of even Christians. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing. They shouldn’t compare, criticize, or compete with other servants or ministries. If you serve like Jesus, you can expect to be criticized. The world and even much of the church sometimes do not understand your call of God. Think of the story of Mary and how she took the most valuable thing she owned – expensive perfume – and poured it over Jesus. Jesus called it significant, and that’s all that mattered. Your service for Christ is never wasted regardless of what others say.

Because we are loved and accepted by grace, servants don’t have to prove their worth. Servants base their identity in Christ. If you’re going to be a servant, you must settle your identity in Christ. Only secure people can serve. Insecure people will worry about how they appear to others. We must be willing to expose our weaknesses and not hide beneath layers of pride and pretensions. Unfortunately, the more insecure you are, the more you will want people to serve you and the more you will need their approval. The closer you get to Jesus, the less you need to promote yourself. Give the glory to God.

Lastly, Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. Do you enjoy helping people, meeting needs and doing ministry? Psalm 100:2 says Serve the Lord with gladness.” Why do you serve with gladness? Because you love the Lord, you are grateful for His grace. You know serving is the highest use of life, and you know God has promised a reward. This concept is something I personally think about a lot. Since I am a paid minister, my attitude needs to be always about ministry and all of its aspects, not an obligation because I am paid. Therefore, our growth is important as we strive to “Love God, Love People” each and every day. Our scripture for the day was Philippians 2:5, Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” May we all strive to emulate, think, and act like Jesus to the best of our abilities.

I knew this day might be the last day for devotions due to travel schedules, so I challenged everyone to take the key questions and apply them to their everyday lives. Of course, it was a lively time of discussion because we not only reflected on today’s activities but also on the events of the week. Our first thought for the day was that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Service had been our call for the week, and it needs to be our call each day that we live. It’s important not just that we lose ourselves in service, but that God is glorified through it. The second thought was that when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that is present, we experience the Kingdom of God. The Tracks were our life for a week, and we will miss it. However, God has abundant plans for us as we return home…plans to experience the Kingdom of God.

FINALLY: The Last Day of our Guatemalan Spiritual Journey

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