Choosing sacrifice in a world that is yours for the taking
January 25, 2019
Brodie Croyle, Executive Director
I am frequently reminded of the honor and privilege it is to work alongside our staff at Big Oak Ranch. Each of us serves a unique purpose within this ministry and I’m blessed by God-appointed encouragement during times they don’t even realize they’re doing it. One moment in particular is something I’ve shared many times but will remain a part of me for the rest of my life. It reveals an aspect of character and the Christian identity that is so often lost today.
As we welcomed two new boys into our Big Oak family, boys who have so much potential and are ready to fulfill it, we gathered as usual to pray for wisdom, endurance and guidance in raising them. During this time, one of our housedads began to pray for his newest boy and as he did, he asked that God would fill every bed with a child who needs it. Now, houseparenting is hard. Worth every second, but VERY hard. I see the beautiful moments our houseparents get to experience through this unique area of ministry, but I also see them empty themselves daily, relying solely on Christ to fill them up again, only to repeat the process.
In a time and culture where people are quick to give up, be done, draw a line and say they’ve given all they can give, this prayer countered all of that. Humanity is so often devalued and tossed about unless there is something to gain. This prayer said, “I lay myself at the altar, all of my wants, all of my concerns, my fears, my comfort, my desires…I lay them down so God can use me to give someone else life.” As many in today’s culture teach living a sustainable life – focus on self-preservation, self-help, self-love - the heart behind this dad’s words asked for more children to be brought to our family fully KNOWING that God will provide the strength and endurance to pour into their lives and help each one fulfill their potential.
We all don’t have the commission from God to become houseparents, just like we all don’t have the unique calling to adopt or serve as a pastor or run a business. But each of us do have the calling and responsibility to care for the widow and orphan (James 1:27) because God sees His greatest creation – humanity – and sees no length too great to pursue their rescue. In fact, He sees the hurting and afflicted and declares that before they were formed in the womb, they lived in His mind and He longs to lavish His love on them using other people.
May we not give into our own selfish boundaries and perceived limits, but instead pray intently for God’s specific plan for us in serving others. It might require a sacrifice of comfort, resources, sleep, family time and luxuries. It might mean grieving over the pain others endure. But it will also mean joy, glory for our Creator and a victor’s crown. Let’s fully rely on God to provide all we need to press on.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2