Pastors filled the Guesthouse porch. Some have traveled for over a day to come for a meeting. They arrived tired and worn out from the hard travel on either public transportation or on a back of a motorcycle, enduring the bumps and dust. When they arrived they learned instead of a meeting they would be attending the burial of one of their young friends, Pastor Wilbur.
Pastor Wilbur, a young man that I met for the first time last summer. He told us of his plans to help all the orphans in his community, reach the Islands for the sake of His name. He pastored one of the most difficult zones, the Islands. He humbly took on the challenges. I hate using the word challenges because we from the Western culture think of our challenges, and not to say we don’t have them, but here the challenges sometimes cannot be painted in words. He was excited about his new twin boys!
Pastor Wilbur went to meet the Lord in the hospital from liver failure.
I was first amazed by these men who did not complain but made arrangements to travel even further to attend the burial. True apostles. As we got out of our van, we were greeted by soft voices singing and hundreds of people gathered around Pastor Wilbur’s mud home.
I was taken aback because not too long ago I was at this same scene, burying my Granddaddy. No matter what culture, grief looks the same. Tears shed, the Gospel preached and hope glistened in the hot sun. My heart broke as I met the wife of Wilbur, she was kneeling and overcome with grief, my knees met hers on the ground as I tried to place myself in her shoes. It isn’t possible. Her children were tugging on her for their own needs of hunger and her older children stood beside her with silent tears.
I was honored when they recognized me for coming. I needed no recognition, this is where I was supposed to be, this is my family.
As I rode away with the orange dirt leaving in a cloud of dust behind a widow, whose life just became more difficult. The Lord brought this scripture to my mind, “When you are harvesting in your fields and overlook a sheaf do not go back and get it. Leave it for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God can bless all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the orphan and the widow.” Deut. 24:19
How many times do I go back for seconds? How many times have I had extra money in my bank account and I let it sit there for my cushion? My heart was overcome with guilt and conviction. Orphans are easy to love, really they are. People are drawn to help the faces. But now I have a friend and a name to a face that is mom to five children. If we as her church body don’t look after her then we are hurting a family. A widow is who Jesus has commanded, not suggested, we take care of. I could very easily be that widow one day.
He commands, not suggest.