Our final Lent devotion is from Jenny Williams, Chief Executive of Habitat in Ireland. She reflects on the importance of contemplation and reminding us that we should trust in God's goodness.
As we follow Jesus journey to the cross, Lent is a time for contemplation and reflection as we prepare to celebrate the joy of Easter. It’s also a reminder that we should share.
In a world which is haunted by conflict, poverty and greed we could be overwhelmed by the challenges. The Feeding of the Five Thousand is the only miracle story, apart from the resurrection, recorded in all four gospels. It’s a favourite Sunday School story which teaches us so much about trusting in God’s goodness, and about the need for us to be his hands and feet to bless.
Jesus told the disciples ‘you give them something to eat’ (Luke 9:13) I can imagine their disbelief, there were just too many people. They didn’t have anything and yet when they trusted Jesus there was enough. Not just enough but more than enough. (Luke 9:17) God will shatter our small expectations if we will only if we bring what we have. ‘Little is much when God is in it’. When we offer our lives sacrificially, God will use us in extraordinary ways.
It’s extraordinary that 29 million people worldwide now have better lives, thanks to Habitat’s ministry and the thousands of small acts of faith of donors, volunteers and supporters.
I have had the privilege to spend International Women’s Day in Delhi for the last few years. Standing with women who have been economically and socially marginalised for generations is a humbling experience – there is so much need. A few years ago I met Ruby and her family; in fact I helped knock down their home because it had been built without proper foundations – a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the poor. Poverty slaps you up the face at every turn and yet Ruby, like every Habitat partner family I have had the joy to meet was resilient and determined to build a better future for her family and happy to share all that she had.
Like the disciples in the story, Ruby would say she had nothing to give, but she gave us so much - a warm welcome, a willingness to share her life and lovingly prepared chai (tea) every morning. I met Ruby again last year, the family were thriving and I was able to buy some soap from the small shop they have opened on the ground floor of their home, which they had already extended upwards.
Habitat’s mission statement ‘seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope’ speaks to the power promised to each of us when we fulfil Gods call on our lives.
As we look towards the cross and the resurrection we can be confident. The need is too big for us alone, but we are not alone. We follow Jesus, we follow not as people who have it all sorted but as people who trust in God’s mercy, grace and power.
Lord of every time and place, help us to fully understand the incredible power of your love and may everything we do, witness to the truth of Jesus resurrection. As we look to the cross remind us afresh that the same power which raised Christ from the dead lives in each of us (Romans 8:11). Make us – more and more - the means by which are prayers are answered in our communities and around the world. Amen