I know that missionaries are not supposed to do anything fun - that we're supposed to live off fried termites and dry roots, but I have to confess that yesterday I slipped away to our local golf course for a few hours (if it makes you feel better, there are no golf carts here and I had to walk the entire 18 holes; of course you are required to have a caddy, but that is included in the very low price of only $15!). Ok...that probably didn't help. Anyway, let me get to the point.
My caddy was a wondeful guy with a curious name - Abeauty. There are lots of curious names here - and I found out recently that it could be because in Zambia children are allowed to choose their own names at the age of ten. But that's another story, for another day.
Anyway, as we walked from hole to hole I began to ask Abeauty if he went to church. He said he did and so we started talking about the Lord. He was a Catholic he said. I told him I was a Pentecostal. He gave me strange look and I wasn't sure if he just thought that meant I was weird, or if he thought that meant I was dangerous. Anyway, he asked me a few questions about the ten commandments, and about whether or not it mattered if you went to church on Saturday or Sunday. And then He asked me to pray for him. He said he was only working part time at the golf course, as there are not enough people playing for him to work full-time. He said that he brings home about $32 a month. And that with that, he takes care of himself, his wife, his seven year old son, and his two younger brothers.
Needless to say, the family is just barely scraping by. His son is supposed to start school soon, and Abeauty said he didn't think he would have the money for uniforms. And in Zambia, if a child doesn't have the school uniform, they can't attend school.
My first thought was to just give him the money. This was something I could do, right? It seemed like a no brainer. But, before I did - I felt that gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit (being Pentecostal and all) inclining me to pray that God would provide for Abeauty, and so I did. I asked Abeauty if I could pray for him right then and so, standing near the green on the 18th hole we bowed our heads. It was a simple prayer, not long and not very complicated. It was something like - Lord Jesus I pray that YOU would be Abeauty's provider, that you would meet all His needs according to your riches in glory. We finished the round, exchanged numbers (in case I came across any job openings) and said good-bye.
Then today while I was fixing dinner (and repenting for playing golf while me wife worked), the phone rang. It was Abeauty. He was calling to say thanks for the prayers, that someone had given him the money for the school uniforms, and that it hadn't been a loan but a gift. Abeauty was sure that God had helped him!
And so my thought this week - I wonder how often we prevent God from acting in our lives, and in the lives of those around us, by trusting in our natural resources rather than trusting in our God. And, I also wonder how many times we keep God from acting in peoples lives by not playing more golf?