So is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
It doesn’t rain in October in Malawi. October in Malawi is like an oven preheated to broil. The sun is intense. The heat blisters. The ground hardens. Rivers dry and the lakes recede. It never rains in October in Malawi.
But to everyone’s surprise, showers fell on the 29th of October last year. People are still talking about it. That was the very day that churches in the Lutheran Church of Central Africa – Malawi Synod (LCCA-MS) were celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. A Mother Nature mistake? Climate change chaos? Or… a gift of God? I prefer the latter. After all, if God controls all things, then doesn’t he also have command of the weather?
As the rains pounded the roof and streaked the windows during the worship service at Our Good Shepherd in Mzimba, Pastor Milton Nyirenda was reading the Scripture lesson: “As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread from the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
It was raining more on the inside of the church than on the outside! Not because there was a hole in the roof, but because the LORD was showering his people with his Word and with his grace! A raining of the life-giving gospel message. An unending downpour of good news in Jesus. This rain had already started to fall in the Garden of Eden and has continued to this day. 501 years ago Martin Luther got soaked. On the 29th of October 2017, so did our brothers and sisters in Malawi. On that day in Mzimba, and throughout Malawi, God’s grace in Jesus was proclaimed, preached, taught, received, shown, sung and danced! Even drawn and colored!
We have access to that rain whenever we need it and even whenever we want it. Not everyone has that access, so we continue to be evangelists, to do mission work and share the gospel around the world. As we carry out our ministry, we focus on the responsibility God has given us to do mission work in our community. But we’re also a part of something bigger. In worship this Sunday, we will focus on mission work that our church body is doing around the country and around the world.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me not to doubt the effectiveness of your Word and my ministry as one of your missionaries in the world.Through Word and sacrament, please strengthen me so that I can confidently share your Word with those you have put in my life. Amen.