Last week I took some personal, one-on-one classes in Spanish, to brush up on some of the habits I’ve formed over the past year and a half or so. I learned some new phrases, too, including one that goes, no estoy para nadie. Literally, it means “I’m not for anybody”. But actually, it means, “I have nothing to give. I want to be alone.”
I bring that up because that’s exactly what Jesus would have said after he found out about the cutting off of the head of his special friend, John the Baptist. No estoy para nadie. The scripture says He “withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart.” (Mt 14:13)
But guess what, do you think He could be alone? No. Thousands of people come to Him. As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. (Mt 14:14) And then after that, He happens to perform one of His most famous and incredible miracles, where He feeds well over 5000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. And they all ate and were satisfied. (Mt 14:20)
Well, we walked through the story. The question I have is, What happened? What happened to no estoy para nadie?
I’ll tell you: He was with His Father. He was with God.
And God has everything to give.
I am coming back to Boston in the next week or so, a lot earlier than planned. What happened? Well, in the last few months, all my initiatives and inspirations got cut off. I had come to the local parish in Julio Moreno hoping to be a part of starting a form community life in the parish house, a team in the parish ministry, to give my testimony of God’s love in service to the people. I had hopes and plans for ministry and mission to the local villages in the parish. The people in the villages were all looking forward to it. But as it turned out, I was ignored and cut out by a very busy and ambitious pastor. There was no community, no team, and I was left alone. There was no way to visit the villages or plan missions.
In Puerto Quito, I was hoping to continue with the English club in the high school, to continue the testimony to love of and service to youth. But, because I listened to the kids and let their ideas lead, and the kids loved it and respected me for it, well, that clashed with the style of the principal, and she basically cut the group off, leaving the students, and myself, heartbroken.
So, there I was, with all the initiatives and inspirations cut off. I decided that I needed to leave and get away from everything for a bit. I set up a flight to return home, and started looking for apartments back home. I decided I would visit friends along the way in the different places I know in Ecuador. And, I’d take a class in Spanish, at a friend’s Spanish school in Quito. This whole time, I could be away from ministering to other people, I could be alone with God or with friends and getting back to basics. No estoy para nadie.
By the end of the week, I had become friends with the Spanish tutor. Her mother had died the week before, and she said to me on the last day, “I didn’t know how I was going to start back into work. I was scared. But after the week with you, I feel really a peace inside of me. Thank you.” After I shared my testimony of how I came to Ecuador, the owner went to confession and received communion for the first time in a long time. Her sister ended up confiding in me an amazing story of encounter with God when she thought her relationship with the father of her son was over. The young Swiss couple who were also living at the school for classes shared their thanks for being their part-time interpreter and guiding them in their first steps in Ecuador. And here in Chontal, I found two 7-year-old cousins, two little friends who wear me out when I am here, not talking to each other. Well, after 15 minutes with me, I turned to see them arm in arm, and I don’t think they’ve separated since.
What happened? What happened to no estoy para nadie? I mean, I just wanted to get away from everything from a while, grieve over lost possibilities. I had hardly anything to give. But in the last week, more miracles are happening than in the whole 3 previous months combined!
Because I was with Someone who had everything to give.
If you’ve been given a lot from God, you can do good things with it. And I bet you’d see some great things happen. But I doubt you’ll see miracles. It’s because when we have a lot to give, it can be hard to find God’s hand in the giving, it can almost seem like our own doing. But when we have little to give, it’s then that God loves to give everything. It’s then that we can share in God’s miracles.
When times come when you’ve got nothing to give, when there’s little in the tank, or hardly anything in the account, when you are para nadie, look to God.
You’ll share in miracles.
Because He has everything to give.