Pep Talk: “Love Is The Root”

November 19, 2017

Your knucklehead scribe usually has several passengers on Friday mornings but not this time. “I feel like a father whose son has his own car and no longer wants a ride.” I was sharing these feelings with my octogenarian mother who usually enjoys, each Friday, a long-distance phone chat with guys on the comeback trail from addiction and incarceration. They’re active in A Stronger Cord and regulars for the weekly men’s faith-fortifying fellowship. Yours truly is their Uber driver.
Not anymore. One of the fellow Knucks is working full time, serving others and recently purchased a gently used car and wanted to show it off. All the usual passengers had blown me off to ride with their buddy. Mom was laughing hysterically.  “Now you know how I felt when you kids (three siblings) started maturing and no longer needed so much of my attention. It’s hard to let go.” A short time later, after checking out the clean Camry and kidding, “Nobody wanted to ride with the old man,” we truly learned a lesson about, faithfully, letting go.

Platoon had a special guest, Rod Davis. Raised on the tough streets of Oakland, California those experiences, others and natural gifts have sparked an amazing ministry. Straight from the TEARS (True Evangelism Always Requires Sacrifice) website: “In 1995, Roderick (Rod) Davis sold all he owned.  He went with his wife, Twila, and two toddler children and moved to the slums of the Dominican Republic and subjected themselves to the same conditions in which the Dominicans live, including poverty and sickness.  As they began to haul water each day, deal with infrequent electrical power, and wash clothes by hand, their suburban lifestyle in Portland seemed far away. This was the beginning of TEARS, a ministry to some of the poorest people in the Caribbean.”  
The family was constantly sick because of contaminated water used to drink, bathe, wash clothes and cook. The couple was also constantly questioning their decision. “Why would someone give up a comfortable life in the United States to live a life of poverty in a third-world country?  Although we were involved in Portland inner-city ministry,” Rod says, “We got the sense God was leading us to make a dramatic change.”

More than two decades later, the Davis’ perseverance has paid off handsomely. The barrio they call home has clean water and a school with more than 400 students. Many graduates earn college degrees and return as teachers. TEARS is now raising money to build a second school in the Caribbean nation. Rod’s mission is to “live with the marginalized, understand their plight and serve them better.” Awesome!
Listening, I was mesmerized about those seasons of life when we must let go, put fear aside and allow wonderment to win. It probably won’t be as radical as Rod’s, but where is it time to take a leap into the great unknown? A better question might be, “How?”

The engaging man has the answer: “Love is the root and sacrifice is the fruit.” Amen, dude!

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