If you’re looking for something unusual to give your mother this Sunday, you might consider a gift that is truly celestial: Christie’s auction house is selling a twenty-nine-pound lump of moon rock for $2.5 million.
The rock, technically called NWA 12691, was found two years ago in the Sahara Desert, where it probably crash-landed during an ancient meteor shower. It is exceedingly rare: less than 1,500 lunar meteorites have been discovered over the years, just enough to fit inside a small car. NWA 12691 is the fifth-largest piece of the moon on earth, dwarfing even those returned by Apollo astronauts.
"We should always think of helping others"
You don’t need to spend $2.5 million, however, to give someone a gift they will truly appreciate. Thousands of American graduates are writing the slogan “Gowns 4 Good” on their mortarboards after donating their gowns to healthcare workers to use as personal protective equipment in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Gowns 4 Good is the name of a charity begun three weeks ago by Nathaniel Moore, a frontline physician assistant in Vermont. He is asking graduates to donate their gowns to more than seventy-five thousand frontline responders. Such gowns worn backwards, with the zippered opening in the rear and the high collar in front, meet the CDC requirements for covering the body.
On the theme of selfless service, consider Galina Yakovleva. As a child during the World War II siege of Leningrad, she learned to make the best of fearful times. Today, she’s using these lessons as she delivers food and supplies to needy people locked down because of the pandemic.
The eighty-year-old drives a white minivan every day through the streets of St. Petersburg. She was helping others for a decade before the pandemic struck and continues to serve in these difficult times. One of her care recipients said, “I don’t know how I’d live here indoors for a month if not for Galina. She brings me milk, bread, everything so I won’t die from hunger. I’m amazed. This person lives only for others, not for herself.”
Yakovleva explains her motive: “We should always think of helping others, at least a bit. Not just lie on the sofa.”
We are often the answer to our prayers
Yesterday was the annual National Day of Prayer. Millions of Christians across the country prayed for our leaders and for our nation.
However, offering prayers for those in need has come under skeptical attack in recent years. “Thoughts and prayers” has been made into cynical memes and even a disparaging video game.
Christians know that praying for others is both biblically commanded (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and the pathway to experiencing God’s best (Matthew 7:7-11). But we also know that our Lord often calls us to be the answer to the prayers we offer.
In Matthew 9, Jesus asked his disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (v. 38). The next verse reports: “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction” (Matthew 10:1). He then sent them as “laborers into his harvest” (cf. v. 5).
When we pray for those in need, we should also pray for God to show us how we can help them. When we pray for the lost to come to Christ, we should also pray for the Lord to use our witness to this end. When we pray for healthcare heroes fighting the pandemic, we should also pray for practical ways to support them.
This is not a binary decision. We are not forced to choose between praying and acting. To the contrary, praying positions us to be empowered by God so that we can then act in his omnipotent strength.
Not "into" but "through"
As you pray for our nation and the needs of others, know that you can pray for your own needs as well. In fact, your Father wants you to claim his promise to “supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
In a website article I wrote yesterday, I invited us to claim God’s assurance: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3).
Notice that the word through is repeated three times. We are not walking into the waters, rivers, or fire, as though we will not come out. We are walking through them to the other side.
When we face great challenges, Max Lucado urges us to tell ourselves, “I’m still God’s child. My life is more than this life. These days are a vapor, a passing breeze. This will eventually pass. God will make something good of this. I will work hard, stay faithful, and trust him no matter what.”
He continues: “Choose to heed the call of God on your life. You are God’s child. Your life is more than this life, more than this broken heart, more than this difficult time. God won’t break a promise. You will get through this!” (his italics).
With whom can you share this assurance today?
Why do you need to claim it for yourself?
NOTE: Today is the seventy-fifth anniversary of Victory in Europe Day marking the surrender of Nazi Germany. I will write a Special Edition honoring our veterans and their sacrifice later today.
Publication date: May 8, 2020
Photo courtesy: Milada Vigerova/Unsplash
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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