I Matter to Him - Encouragement Café - March 22, 2017

I Matter To Him
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“‘Is there anyone here who saw the Temple the way it used to be, all glorious? And what do you see now? Not much, right?

“‘So get to work, Zerubbabel!’—God is speaking.

“‘Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak—high priest!’

“‘Get to work, all you people!’—God is speaking.

“‘Yes, get to work! For I am with you.’ The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is speaking! ‘Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I’m living and breathing among you right now. Don’t be timid. Don’t hold back.’”  Haggai 2:1-5 (MSG)

Years ago, I felt a deep desire to be involved in short term missions.  Over the years, I have traveled on a number of mission trips, and I learn more about myself and God on every trip.

However, not everyone understands my passion for short term missions.  Friends have even asked me, “Do you really think that you are making a difference?”  When I am asked that question, I start to doubt myself.   I wonder, does the work that I am doing matter?  Do I matter?

After I returned from a recent trip, I was overwhelmed by the needs of the people that I met.  For every child that had enough money to pay school fees, there were hundreds of other children that could not attend school.  Even if a child was able to attend school, many of the children had no food and would have to walk to school multiple miles with no shoes. 

If a child was lucky enough to have basic needs met, the child may have been abused or an orphan.  When I returned home and reflected on all the need, I started to doubt whether I had made any impact at all.  That doubt led me to question whether God would ever use the passions that he had placed in my heart.   

Months after my trip, I received a message on Facebook from a young boy that I met in a remote village.  Despite having no electricity or running water, this boy had gained internet access.  He had kept a picture that I had given to him where I had written my families’ names and our email address.

He told me that he was studying in school so that he could become a pastor, and that he was already preaching at some churches.  He asked me to continue to pray for him and he asked how his American brothers and sister were doing.  He told me that he was anxiously awaiting my return trip. 

In that moment, it was as if God was whispering to me, “You matter.  What you do for me matters.”  My trip did not end world hunger or end the cycle of poverty.  But when I just showed up at one school and met one boy, I mattered to him.

When God places a deep desire in your soul, do not be discouraged if some people do not understand.  There may even be times when you wonder if what you are doing matters.  In Haggai 2, the Bible reveals that sometimes we may strive to fulfill a desire that God has placed in our hearts, but we may not see immediate results. 

When the temple is mentioned, the scripture says that when you look, you won’t see much.  However, God instructs his people to “get to work!  For I am with you.” 

If you are chasing passions that God has placed deep in your soul, be assured, God wants you to “get to work!”  Persevere, even when you do not see results because God also promises that when we do his work, he is with us. 

If you touch only one life, remember, your work matters to that person, and your work matters to God. 

When doubt creeps in or others tell me that my trips do not matter, I know that a boy in a village would say otherwise.  I think he would tell you that my trip showed him that someone cares, and someone loves him.  I know that he would say I matter to him. 

Jesus, Thank You for giving us unique passions to serve You.  When we are discouraged, and wonder if our work matters, reassure us that You are with us.  Help us persevere with hope and confidence in You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Wednesday, 22 March 2017.