“It’s of utmost importance.”
It’s a phrase I’ve heard countless times, and with a word like “utmost,” importance seems almost superfluous. If you look utmost up in the dictionary, you’ll find it means most extreme, greatest, the most extreme extent. The word even appears in the title of what is considered to be one of the most popular Christian books, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. I think I might have even used the word a few times as I typed emails to various people attempting to communicate a strong urgency for them to act upon things which I believed to be of importance.
It’s of utmost importantance. Isn’t it interesting what we believe to be important? Or maybe interesting isn’t the right word, but maybe frightening? Or sickening? Or depressing?
After experiencing what we did today, I think the phrase it’s wrong. There is a problem with the word utmost because it leaves room for us to define what is important, and that’s always dangerous. We need God to define what is important, and the phrase needs to read like this:
“It’s of kingdom importance.”
We spend a great deal of time, money, energy, passion, you name it, pursuing things we believe to be of utmost importnace, but when we allow God to define what is important, we begin to focus on those things which have a kingdom impact. An. Eternal. Impact.
We began the day at the grocery store loading up “more carts than Carter has pills” according to Marvin. We purchased food to be distributed to 15 families in Stupini and Simpetru. Upon arrival to villages, we divided into two teams so we would have more time to visit with each family. Laura and I separated, as we would know many of the homes we were about to visit due to our ladies’ ministry the two previous days. What we encountered in each home was great need. Some times for healing due to difficult health issues. Some times for financial needs due to lack of employment. Sometimes emotional needs due to loneliness. But in every single home, we encountered the need for more Jesus. We heard from women like Valydia and Anica, both Christians, seeking God to increase their faith. And women like Floaria who desperately wants to see her son come to know Jesus. And women like Elizabeth, who Paulina brought to me in the street, just so I could pray for her salvation. We dispensed food, and it mattered for empty stomachs and empty wallets, and that was important. But it was of KINGDOM importance that we shared the hope and the joy that is Jesus Christ. Please be in prayer for Valydia and Gabriel, Anica, Paulina, Floaria and John, Eugene, the four Marias, Floare, Monica and her two children, and Nicoletta and her three daughters.
Following our home visits, we went to the church in Simpetru and led children’s ministry. I believe we found the sweetest children in all Romania here in this village. They were incredibly well behaved and so attentive during the story time. And you should’ve heard them lift their voices in song. Priceless! These children are incredibly blessed to be brought up in a church where preaching the gospel is of KINGDOM importance. It matters for each one of their lives, and we were so grateful for the small part we were able to play. Please be in prayer for Margarita and Daniel, a couple who will be leading the first ever on-going children’s ministry in Simpetru.
Following an amazing BBQ lunch at Florine and Rodica’s, we were off again to Almasu for a youth meeting.
In the large gypsy village of Almasu, we met with 31 youth, and what an amazing time we had! And, translation was done by one of the young women in the community, Andra. Sweet mercy! What a beautiful girl and what a beautiful heart for God.
Jeff did a wonderful job sharing the KINGDOM message using the bridge explanation of salvation. If you don’t know about the bridge, be sure to ask one of the Romania 7 team members.
Following an invitation to accept Jesus Christ into their hearts, these children joined us in prayer. I can’t list all of their names here, but I would ask you to pray for the youth of Almasu and for God to do a mighty work in their heart from the small seed that was planted today.
What we saw today reminded us that it is not what is of utmost importance, but it is what is of KINGDOM importance. Every choice we make has an outcome. It matters. It’s of KINGDOM importance!
Believe it or not, despite our long days, Jeff still had the audacity to give us a homework assignment tonight: Read one chapter from the Bible and be prepared to discuss it on our road trips tomorrow to serve in three church services in Simpetru, Jac, and Simleu.
I chose 1 Thessalonians 5. Paul begins by reminding me that its of KiNDGOM importance: “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for as you know very well that the day of The Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
Those words echo in my soul and tears flood my eyes.
It’s of KINGDOM importance.
And the time for our obedience is now.