Shining Castles Built of Mud

Since boyhood I have enjoyed fixing things up. Well, not really fixing things because I am not a mechanic. (Yeah, I can hear some of you laughing!) I loved to buy old BMX bicycles at garage sales for $10.00, fix them up, and get them working and looking as nice (to me at least) as my friend’s shiny new one that cost him $68.00.  I loved spending time in the basement with my Dad’s primitive tools, turning scraps of oak into key chains and name plates that my friends would trade money for. I built a cabinet for my mom out of rejected materials from the shop where I worked. One man’s junk became another man’s treasure.

Guatemala City Folks

Guatemala City Folks

I still live my hobby. Most days, I love my job. I get to work with people. I watch losers that over a period of several years become winners. Chained sinners become free. Lazy and complacent TV watchers become zealous in building His kingdom. Ignorant peasants with addictions emerge as Christian school teachers and pastors. I am part of the process . . . and I am still being processed.

It is amazing to me that God uses mud to build His eternal kingdom.  “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Mud is the product when dust is baptized. Look at Psalm 78:38-39: “But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.  For he remembered that they were but flesh . . .” Doesn’t that perfectly describe our Saviour? Full of compassion. Forgiving of iniquity.

Turning His anger away at OUR obnoxious behavior, OUR shortcomings, OUR failures. He is very careful not to stir up ALL His wrath. If He did, we wouldn’t stand a chance, but be consumed.

El Chal Folks

El Chal Folks

Have you ever stopped to evaluate His team? His disciples were a mess. Think of Peter. Can you imagine working with him all day, every day? And they didn’t have toothpaste or deodorant back then, either. What about the scheming, self-righteous, ambitious sons of Zebedee? Oh, help! Don’t you think that some days Jesus wished He could just do the Father’s will all by Himself? And then there was Thomas. Imagine this: The Creator of the entire universe, the One who hung Pluto in space long before it no longer qualified to be a planet, more than once had to provide proof for Thomas to believe. Thomas needed to see it first. He was a total “I-don’t-doinstructions” kind of fellow. Jesus showed him lovingly that what He had been telling him for months was actually true. But all of them—Peter, James, John, and Thomas—became saints in His Eternal Kingdom, Pillars of the Early Church. Mud. Maybe I’ll lose you, but let’s head to the Old Testament for some examples of Mud that helped to build His shining and everlasting Castle. Moses, the murderer. Jacob, the thief. Rahab, the harlot. And Samson, who was all of the above. Would these people even have made it through MAM’s application process? They look more like names on a Wanted List, rather than Heroes of the Faith or tools in His hand.

I get a little uncomfortable when people call me “the missionary from Guatemala.”  The term sounds too noble to describe someone like me. I am learning to accept the title, however. I saw “missionary” from a new perspective the other day as I pondered the life of “the first missionary” that our Lord commissioned (Luke 8:26-40). This man wanted to be with Jesus and to be one of His disciples too, but Jesus sent him away to his own house to show what great things God had done for him. This unlikely candidate did the work of John the Baptist in his home community. Verse 40 tells us that when Jesus returned to that place, the people gladly received him, because they were all waiting for him.

El Narajo Folks

El Narajo Folks

And that’s what we are all called to do, isn’t it? To serve. To have others waiting to meet Him when He comes back again. To demonstrate the difference He has made in our life. To build His shining, everlasting Castle with mud.

Lord, help me to be fuller of Your compassion, more ready to forgive the iniquities of those around me. Help me to turn my anger away when others fail. Give me Your love and Your Spirit today, I pray.


~Stephan Gingerich

::Note:: To download a PDF of the entire Newsletter for these two months simply click the link below!

March/April 2013 Newsletter

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