by Joanne Viola, The Lulu Tree Treasurer

When you follow The Lulu Tree for years, since the beginning of its formation, a mystery takes place in your spirit. The people, the faces, the growth all become personal as the mystery of an attachment begins to root deeply in your heart.

A sense of family begins to develop and with that, a longing to meet these brothers and sisters in the Lord starts nudging within us.

But are we all to go? This is the question I found myself asking the Lord in recent weeks. In His faithfulness, He began to give an answer through an email which delivered the story of William Carey and Andrew Fuller. Let me share:

In the late 18th century, Carey, a shoemaker turned small-town preacher, began to preach that it is the duty of all Christians to reach other nations and cultures with the Gospel. This was a radical perspective not shared by his fellow Baptists at the time.  Nevertheless, Carey began to influence others and in 1792 the Baptist Missionary Society was formed.

The next year, William Carey was commissioned to go to India.  Upon agreeing to travel to India, Carey made an important remark to his good friend and president of the Baptist Missionary Society, Andrew Fuller.

“I will go down,” Carey said, “if you will hold the rope.”

Andrew Fuller spent the next 21 years of his life “holding the rope” for Carey and other missionaries.  He wrote letters, raised funds, and sent encouragement to those serving on the front lines.  There is no doubt Fuller’s work was every bit as essential as the work of Carey in reaching the lost.  If Fuller did not stay home and hold the rope, Carey could not do the work abroad.

(from an email sent to me)

There are those who will surely be called to go. But there are those of us who will be called to stay. We will be called to sacrifice going and to love from afar.

We’re called to hold the rope. To be here praying faithfully, giving generously and in so doing, God does the work through those who go. It may even be a painful sacrifice to stay behind.

Whether God calls us to go or to hold the rope, we are to be obedient to the call.

Recently God confirmed His call for me to “hold the rope”. I have begged Him to let me go “just one time” but His response has been, “Sacrifice and love without seeing. Hold the rope.”

May we all come to know our parts are each needed and equally vital. There is a joy which comes from obedience and being in the place God has purposed.

Sacrifice does not come easy. It is painful. Our Lord surely suffered in obedience as He went to the Cross for each of our lives. May we be willing to do the same.

“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.” (2 Cor. 9:11, NLT).

May we all seek God to confirm our roles and surrender completely to His will. Then may we watch Him do a marvelous work of drawing His people to Himself.

Will you be willing to join us in “holding the rope”?

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