Here are four possible discussion questions about this work:
1) What about “I Was a Stranger” (IWAS) helps me become more Christlike?
2) What is Zion-building about this work?
3) What keeps us from doing what we were sent to do? What can we do about it?
4) Now what? What is God calling me/us to do?
1. WHAT ABOUT “IWAS” HELPS ME BECOME MORE CHRISTLIKE?
JESUS loved everyone immensely, infinitely.
Unfortunately I love who I love. I particularly love those who love me back. I’m growing into genuinely loving people different from me, outside my comfort zone, with no expectations.
JESUS saw beyond outward appearances (tax collector, adultress) to the child of God inside, with divine, infinite potential.
I’m learning to see the unique beauty of every human being, even those very different from me or in very humble circumstances.
JESUS didn’t judge. He didn’t scold the adultress or give Matthew a lecture about the evils of the tax collection system. He just loved them and invited them to a better way.
I’m learning to be less judgmental and just love the person in front of me, without a lot of questions or lectures about how they got to where they are. I know that God judges us on what we do with what we have been given. For those around me, I have no way to know the latter.
JESUS set healthy boundaries. He spent time apart to pray and recharge, without worrying about how many people could have been helped during that time He was alone. He also healed ONE man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15), even though he was surrounded by desperately sick people also waiting for the “troubling of the waters.” He healed that ONE man that God sent Him to heal, and walked away from the others He wasn’t sent to heal that day. Even He didn’t try to do it all.
I’m learning to set healthy boundaries and figure out the right-sized place of service in my life.
JESUS always did God’s will – “Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.”
I’m learning to recognize what guidance and revelation feels like, doing what God wants me to do.
2. WHAT IS ZION-BUILDING ABOUT THIS WORK?
ZION (Moses 7:18)
One heart (Christ’s heart)
IWAS helps me become more Christlike in my feelings (less judgmental or awkward, more loving).
One mind (Christ’s mind)
IWAS helps me become more Christlike in my thoughts and ideas, less focused on self and more on others, and learn to recognize His guidance. (BTW – the Spanish version says “uno en corazon y voluntad” – one in heart and WILL. I like this. Again, God’s will – nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
Dwelt in righteousness
As I serve the stranger and refugee, and understand that service is a big reason I’m on the earth, I make better choices so I can have His guidance to fulfill my divine errand.
I pray harder, to know where He is sending me today.
I read the scriptures harder, using the scriptures as a “service instruction manual.” (This is another thought entirely that needs its own sustained attention – what we learn from the scriptures about how to do service – King Benjamin on the needs vs. wants of the poor, Jesus example mentioned above, etc.)
I’m less tempted by Word of Wisdom issues. I’m a woman on an errand from God, and I need His power. I refuse to be diminished by substances that weaken — I’ve got work to do.
I’m less distracted by pointless pursuits like overdoing screen time. I refuse to be diverted from my divine errand to serve in my extra time.
I’m less tempted by pornography and sexual temptation, because I recognize my sexual gifts as power and energy from God that can be channeled for righteousness. And I need all the righteousness I can muster to accomplish my divine mission.
No poor among them
Direct connect. How do you think this will happen? Magically equal opportunities, jobs for all? Most likely it’s because those who HAVE will help those who HAVE NOT so they can become self-sufficient.
No conflict, competition (implied in the scriptures)
I call this the Martian invasion theory of conflict resolution: Israelis and Palestinians would figure out their differences if Martians invaded the earth tomorrow. They would unite AGAINST a common threat. IWAS is related but positive: we can unite FOR a common cause. We need not compete or conflict; we must band together and unite to accomplish what God has for us to do. Everyone – EVERYONE is needed.
3. WHAT KEEPS ME FROM DOING WHAT GOD SENT ME TO DO?
WHAT KEPT SIS. DEW FROM GOING IN FOR THAT TRYOUT? (Story here)
a) Fear, doubt, insecurity.
b) Unsure if we are really sent from God, or whether this is our own idea here.
c) Overwhelmed by the need.
d) What else?
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
a) Tap into God’s power to overcome fear (how?)
b) Learn to recognize God’s voice and direction. If Sheri Dew knew that the team needed her and she was on an errand from God, she would have thought about it differently. If you knew you were sent from God to that girl or that organization or that refugee/stranger was waiting for you, if you knew you were an answer to someone else’s prayers, you’d hurry up about it. If you knew you were a tall center, and what was needed was a tall center — i.e., If you knew your particular combination of skills, talents and resources was what the situation required, you’d show up. We CAN KNOW – we can ask God, and get acquainted with His voice so we recognize the answer. (Sometimes the answer is indeed NO – this service opportunity is meant for that girl next to you. It’s not yours.)
c) Do my part – give Him my lunch. Surrender what I have – time, means, resources – and leave the rest to God. He’s not asking me to work miracles – that’s His part. He’s just asking me to do my part – show up, and surrender what I have brought with me.
d) What else?