Have you ever thought about the ways in which God uses our talents for Him? Or what about our differences? Do you ever think about how a small question of faith can renovate a life?
In working with an organization called APAE, Association of Parents and Friends of Exceptionals, we got to experience how God can use all people to grow his Kingdom. APAE is a facility in Brasília that helps adults with special needs get connected into the world around them by educating them and teaching them skills that will open up opportunities for them. Our team got to do everything from gardening, cutting banana trees, and building greenhouses. The best part was, the APAE students were working right alongside us so we got to see firsthand just how much of a gift, how valuable, and how capable these people are of making an impact in the Kingdom.
One of our tasks was to cut off sma
ll seeds from four to five bushes and put them into a tube so that they can begin to reproduce in the greenhouse. During this somewhat tedious task, we thought about how this is what Christ does to us, the pruning and renewal phases. The whole process begins when someone, another believer, plants a seed in us. We then go to a church, or wherever, the greenhouse if you will, to begin to grow and develop a relationship in Christ. Once we are equipped, we go out and plant more seeds, therefore, producing more fruit for the Kingdom. When we use our talents and gifts for Him, when we function as extensions of the Vine, He can plant people in new places to influence and cultivate new believers. At APAE, these seeds were probably the smallest thing that we worked with, yet we were able to replant about 8,000 new bushes! Imagine 8,000 new lives influenced from only four or five people and how much more influence they will have to further God’s Kingdom.
Another one of our tasks was to trim off the dying leaves of the bananas trees so that they would look have the opportunity to continue to flourish and to re-enhance their beauty. Christ will do a similar thing to us because He wants us to be the shalom of who He made us to be. But sometimes we get attached to things that drag us down and keep us from flourishing. Through Christ, we are freed from these things and are shown that underneath the overgrown and the damaged areas, we have the ability to grow in more ways than we saw possible before. By breaking through the outside layers, God can surprise us by showing us that we are more valuable than what we can see.
We were very thankful to see how the task of cutting bushes and pruning banana trees is actually something that God does in our lives. God has something to teach in all of the moments of our days. He wants to use us for His glory, and He will do all the moving for us if we let Him change our hearts.