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Reflection for April 2 or Day 86

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As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15

Since cyclone Haruna hit Toliara and surrounding areas in southern Madagascar on February 22, 2013, and has created serious damage to churches, government buildings, schools, roads and the electrical infrastructure, I have had some time to pounder this Scripture.  As recount a few stories about this event and devastation I was reminded of this verse, because this is the underlining question for all of us

Whom will we serve? Whom will we serve under good conditions, during a time or prosperity and peace? The other side of the coin, whom shall we serve during devastation; during a time of suffering, disease, poverty and a time of economic woes? 

The cyclone brought out the good and bad in the city. Besides the 12 hour devastating winds and 48 hour rains, the dyke to the north of the city broke and created additional havoc. Homes where either severely flooded or simply washed away. Everyone was affected in one way or another.

On the one hand we heard there was an increase in crime; the younger generation was taking advantage of the winds and rain and robbing stores which normally would have security and lighting. Others robbed the homes of people who had to evacuate without any advance preparation when the dyke broke and raising waters flooded their homes without warning. Once evacuated, the thieves came into the homes and took whatever they pleased. It is clear whom these people serve.

The cyclone also brought out the good. During the cyclone, my guard was outside making sure the church properties were secure. He also continually checked on Patsy and I to ensure our safety. Even when our kitchen window blew out, frame and all, he was there to help us and immediately called the other guard to help assist in boarding up the huge hole in the wall. 

Our local church community came to our rescue the next day, quickly repairing the fence which blew down, causing vulnerability of the church property to looters.  I saw the body of Christ at work. Without prompting assistance, there were 15-20 volunteers the next day fixing up the properties and rebuilding the fence. The most amazing thing was, they didn’t ask for any money. They just wanted to volunteer their services. It is clear whom they serve. 

I’m also reminded of an elderly women who came up running to me and bowed down to kiss my ring and to receive a blessing when I was inspecting the collapsed roof of Christ Church in Andranovory.  She said she was so thrilled to see me. She then began to tell me the story of how her small brick house had collapsed during the cyclone. 

“What did you do when your house collapsed?” 

She said she went to the only remaining corner that had not collapsed and sat beside it. 

“Were you afraid?”  

“No. God was there to protect me.” 

And God did. It is clear whom she serves.

Whom will you serve?

In chapters 24, Joshua makes a stand for his faith. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. The Israelites confirm this by saying “We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.” (v.18) But Joshua is not satisfied with this statement only. He wants this to go deeper and make this an everlasting covenant. So he placed a memorial stone reminding both the present generation and future generations. He built a legacy.

What kind of legacy are we going to leave for our family? For Joshua, he wanted to leave a legacy in which he and his household would serve the Lord. If this is true for us, what are we doing in terms of leaving a spiritual legacy for our spouses, our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren? Are we being intentional about spending time with them teaching them the ways of the Lord? Are we writing down things that we think are important to pass on to them? I'm in the process of writing an autobiography. It is has been good discipline for me but I'm not doing it for me, I'm doing it for my children and for others, as an encouragement to their Christian faith.

What kind of legacy are you building? Is it an eternal legacy or a temporal legacy? How are passing on this legacy to your children? What impact will this have on them and others? Do people know whom you serve? If you haven’t thought about this, I would suggest that you begin writing what you would want your legacy to be and begin to teach it to your children.

I hope and pray that part of your legacy is “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”.

Bishop Todd McGregor
Diocese of Toliara