sharper focus_Ding

By Linda Manhardt, Major

This summer, after completing my first three-year term in the Philippines, I took an eight-week furlough.

When I returned to the training college campus, I discovered several changes.

New trash bins greeted me as I entered the compound. They had handmade covers, with handles fashioned from portions of branches. Then I looked up and saw that the eaves overhanging the walkway along the classrooms now had spouts made from used oil tins. These directed the rain water away from the walkway, keeping it dry even during the heaviest downpour. Practical ingenuity.

All around me, I observed the fruit of loving labor. The lawn and bushes were manicured, and I saw fresh grass and the beginning of a garden in front of our newly built library.

When I went into the office, I found a reconstructed fan, assembled from the parts of three broken fans. I discovered hand-built cubbies made to accommodate our growing number of cadets.

Everywhere I looked, I saw the evidence of loving care.

Ding is a simple farmer from the province. He and his wife, Josephine, joined us a couple of months before I left for furlough. We lost our caretaker and had put the word out that we were looking for a replacement. Ding was the only applicant. He was hired.

From the beginning, I could see that Ding put his heart into his work. His job is not glamorous. Sometimes he is elbow deep in muck. He cleans the leaves from the gutters, unclogs the sewage system, and does general repairs that amaze me.

Although he speaks little English, I am able to communicate my deep appreciation for the contribution that he makes. I see that he is happy in his work, and his wife has told me that there are times when he cannot sleep because he is excitedly planning a new garden or project.

By wholeheartedly being who he is, by using the gifts that God has given to him, Ding glorifies God every day. He makes a contribution to the body of believers at the training college that no one else could make. He is valued and needed. But he does his work for the glory of God—not for approval or praise from me or the rest of the staff. He derives great joy in serving the Lord in the way that God has created him to serve.

We have so much to learn from Ding! How often do we compare ourselves—our gifts and abilities—to others? How often do we lose sight of the way God can use us according to his plan?

One gift is no better than another. All are needed. All of us can make a contribution in some way to God’s work.

If you are trying to be someone you are not, then you are rejecting God’s design. Once, as a young person attending Bill Gothard’s “Basic Youth Conflicts” seminar, I learned, “If you insult the design, you insult the designer”!

I look at the attitude of Ding and am reminded that God expects us to fully be who he created us to be and to use our gifts to glorify him. What a witness this simple Christian farmer is to me.

When we live our lives fully yielded to God’s service, our lives take on greater meaning. We find that we have significance and are filled with the joy of being who we are and giving in the way that we have been designed to give.

God has a wonderful plan for each one of us. Our responsibility is to totally yield ourselves to him and seek his will for our lives.


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