Defend 2.0

One light bulb. No windows. Mud and straw walls covered by a tin roof. A piece of linoleum unrolled to cover the dirt floor. A mattress and a legless couch filled the tiny living space. Yet, within those dark, earthen walls lived a family of five brothers and sisters who knew Jesus better than I ever had.

We spent two hours with the young Ethiopian family. The oldest son, Yalo, had sent his sisters to the market to buy a fresh loaf of bread, coffee beans and a handful of long blades of grass. The sisters returned with the bundle of treasure and prepared the tiny room for the traditional coffee ceremony. Nature, fresh and clean. A vibrant splash of life’s living color.

I couldn’t help but compare what had happened that day with our drive-thru culture here in the states. When was the last time I saw a complete stranger on the street and invited him in and treated him like he was a king? When was the last time I dropped what I was doing, and gave a stranger two hours of my Saturday?

Yalo and his precious family were angels sent to show us what God really looks like. As I remember their beautiful hearts and how they lived under the weather beaten sheets of tin, the words of Jesus come to me: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Those children of God in a tiny African hovel, brought me and my wife the peace of heaven. They became Jesus in the flesh, his hands and feet, and it was a beautiful thing.

What I realized that day, as I stood on a gravel street in the bustling Kolfe district of Addis Ababa, was that this life isn’t about things. It’s about people. When our friend Yalo bid us farewell he did it with a hug and a blessing. His dark brown eyes met mine as he said, “God bless you.” The young man who had nothing by the world’s standards, smiled at me and waved good bye.

Like those two hours in Africa, adoption forces us to step out of our insulated worlds and into worlds without trappings of wealth. It helps us see how having absolutely nothing but a relationship with Christ is all that matters. Hosea 14:3 says, “for in you the fatherless find compassion.” Will you join me in becoming a father to the fatherless? 


One thought on “Defend 2.0

  1. Oh, Matt… what a touching post. I had to blink back the tears when I thought of how unlike our culture is from Yalo’s. Those folks are blessed not with material belongings, but with belonging to Jesus, and they are far, far richer than most of us in this land of plenty. Thank you for making me really, really think about what’s important–and what’s NOT.

    Blessings, my dear friend,

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