And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
One of the highlights of what I get to do these days is to meet amazing saints, doing extraordinary things for the sake of the Kingdom of God in the most obscure and ordinary of places. In September, over a very nice dinner, in a very nice restaurant, I met with one such saint and as she told her story of how God called her and what God called her to, I knew that I would NEVER look at the manger the same again.
My wife and I knew that we were in the presence of humble greatness as we listened to the mighty, soft spoken woman of God show us Our Creator’s heart for the lost and the least. With Luke 18:16 as her Scriptural framework, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God,” Dr. Ananthi Jebasingh described the timeline for God’s creation of Friends of the Good Samaritans in Delhi, India. Their mission statement is “Uplifting the unprivileged of India by involving the privileged of the world.” Their missional calling is to take initiatives for the needy and marginalized in India and restore them to confident living.
You can read more about this incredible ministry, how it was started and what it is about today by visiting their website:http://www.friendsofthegoodsamaritans.org/
Be sure to take the time to see and hear more of the story…
For this blog, I merely want to focus on one moment in this ministry’s history. After growing out of space in her home, Ananthi was given free space, an empty room, in the public toilet complex where for the next decade; she faithfully was the conduit for God’s heavenly transformational, loving power to give orphans and poor children a hope and a future now and forever. Eventually the Friends of the Good Samaritans School grew to hold 600 children in four rooms of a slum toilet complex!
At one point in her recounting when she was given the toilet classroom, Ananthi remembers telling the Lord “I can’t teach here, it is too disgusting!” (think of the “Slumbdog Millionaire” public toilet scene for a mental image). She recalls the Lord impressing on her dissatisfied heart that if God, the all-powerful and perfect Creator of all, was willing to take on the fullness of a human, being born into a dung-filled cave for animals, then she should be willing to serve her Lord and Master in such a place. Ananthi’s story reflects the Christmas story; that God shows up in the most unassuming and disgusting of places miraculously for the purposes of redemption.
This year, as I look at a the antiseptic manger on our mantle, I remember that God, the Almighty, Sinless and Everlasting, broke into creation in the lowliest of places, on an ordinary day, in a most ordinary way to begin an extraordinary earthly journey that would end in even more extraordinary spiritual rescuing of human kind from the eternal, dreadful consequences of our sin. Jesus was born in a place no better than the public toilets of the slums of Delhi, and he willingly entered this lowly situation to transform us and give us a hope and a future!
I am so hopeful for you in this next generation of saints that are responding to a missional call without a Western capitalistic expectation. Many of you, like Ananthi, are obediently following Christ into lowly places, like the dung-filled manger, to love the lost and the least. You do this because you are convinced that out of such places, extraordinary, redemptive love can break through and shine among those they serve for the sake of Christ. Merry Christmas and …
Keep up the great work!