There’s nothing quite as final as death. We’ve all experienced this personally through the passing of a family member, friend, or even a casual acquaintance. And the passing of someone you have been close to can conjure up feelings of regret at having not been as faithful as you wish you had been in the giving of your time, expressing love and care in various ways, then suddenly, it’s too late. That’s what Jesus was alluding to when he said that Mary, whom we studied a while back, had not waited until He died to express her love for Him when she poured the expensive ointment over His feet. The time to express our love to our fellow brothers and sisters of God’s family is when they are still with us. This is all part of the worship journey. And sometimes it happens in surprising ways.

Two Pairs of Shoes
It was with mixed emotions that the missionary couple was now packing for their last trip back to America after having given thirty years of their lives in ministering to the natives of East Africa. Hearing someone calling, “Jambo, jambo,” at the door, they went to see who it was, and through the screen they saw an old native African man carrying a package. He looked vaguely familiar and as they invited him in they soon recognized him as someone they had led to the Lord years before in another part of the country. He told them that he had heard that they were leaving Africa, and would not be returning, so he had brought them a gift of gratitude for having introduced him to his Savior.
After customary conversation about what was happening back home, in his family, church and village, with a bow, he handed the missionaries the two packages. Carefully untying the packages that were wrapped in Kitenge cloth, they found two pairs of shoes that he had made with their African brother’s hands; a pair for each of them. Though they could immediately see that these were shoes that neither of them would ever be able to wear, they were deeply moved by the gifts, knowing the time and love that had been put into what they were holding.
After expressing their profound thanks (“Asante kwa zawadi”) to their brother in Christ, they were soon to learn, when they asked him how he had travelled from his village, that he was giving them more than just the shoes.
“Dear brother, how did you travel here?”
“I walked,”
“You have walked all the way from your village to bring us your gift?”
“But that is a three-day safari! And will you be walking back to your village?”
His response was one that they would never forget.
“Yes,” he replied. “But my safari is a part of my gift. It’s a part of my gift.”

A part of his gift! We may not be led to make that kind of sacrificial gift, but we are all called to be the hands, the feet, the voice of our Lord in caring, loving, in affirming, and expressing gratitude to each other in the name of the One who gave His all for us. This is worship on safari.

A Gift
I gave away a smile today—it didn’t cost a thing,
And though it only was a smile it helped somebody sing.
I could have kept it to myself as I have often done,
Forgetting that such little things as smiles can help someone.

I gave away some time today to do a simple deed,
And though it really wasn’t much it helped someone in need.
I could have used the time for me and failed to pass the test,
Forgetting that it’s as we give that we ourselves are blessed.

A smile, some time, a bit of care,
A little love left here and there,
A word of hope to calm a fear,
A tender touch, a listening ear,
In daylight, night or early morn
The love of Jesus is reborn.

God spare me from self-centeredness—help me to center in on You.
Save me from self-promotion too.
Teach me to seek another’s good—the needs of others help me see.
From selfishness, Lord, set me free.