by Michal Ann Goll

Scripture –

“Watch which field they reap, and follow them. Have I not charged the young men not to molest you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Ruth 2:9

“The Poor Man’s Watch!”

As some of you know, I took a team of 23 people to Mozambique this past June (2005). Preparation was very time consuming. From vaccination research to bed bug/mosquito repellent, health food bars, and vitamins, preparations had to be made for every facet of life. We had been told that in Africa if someone makes a comment about something you have or you are wearing, it is appropriate to give that item to them. You didn’t want to take anything with you that you would mind giving away.

Well, Jim had given me a beautiful watch a few years ago. It has gold links, and has various faces and bands that can be changed out to coordinate with different outfits. I sure didn’t want to lose that watch. Plus, knowing that I would be in circumstances where there would be no electricity, I needed to have a watch that would be able to light up at night. So, I went to Wal-Mart and found a blue-silver-black-plastic-material watch. It had a stopwatch and alarm, it lit up, had a date and month feature, plus other stuff that I never figured out. It was simple enough, however, that I could fairly easily change the time. It cost under $10 and met my criteria of needs, so I decided to buy it.

The watch worked well for me in Mozambique and no one ever seemed to notice it. No one made any comments about it or expressed a desire to have it. I wore it home, unpacked all my stuff out of my suitcase, and began getting my life back together. As for the watch, I kept thinking about my nice watch lying there on my bedroom dresser, waiting for me to take it up again. But for some reason I just didn’t want to take this other inexpensive watch off. At first I thought maybe I just didn’t want to walk away from all that God had imparted to me in Mozambique – and maybe leaving the watch on was a tool to help me keep the people close in my thoughts and prayers. But day after day turned into week after week and still I wore this little cheap watch.

I began asking the Lord if there was something I needed to see or understand about all this. And then August 29th came with hurricane Katrina. Jim & I launched into prayer on the days preceding this horrific event. We stayed home from church glued to the TV, watchfully praying. On Sunday night when Katrina was slated to make landfall in the morning hours, we went to bed knowing that many could lose their lives while we slept comfortably in our bed. How could we pray and avert this disaster from happening? What was God saying? How did God want us to pray? We turned out the lights and I silently prayed in the Spirit, knowing that the Holy Spirit knows how to pray much better than I do.

By Monday afternoon, news began filtering out that began unfolding the revelation of the terrible distress countless people were facing. As I watched the TV, it became evident that most of the stories were about people who could not get out of the city. They were too poor, too old (or too young), or too sick. After watching these reports hour after hour, I was suddenly reminded by the Holy Spirit of my question about my watch. He said, “You’re on the poor man’s watch”.

Seeing the endless needs made my stomach hurt – knowing there were countless people probably hiding in dark attics doing the best they could do to survive – knowing many of them just plain didn’t make it – seeing little babies cooped up in the Superdome without the kind of supplies and facilities they needed. What would I do if my children were put in that situation? How far would I go? Should these children be any different?

In Ruth and Boaz’s day it was common practice that when fields were harvested, the corners were purposely left unharvested for the widows, poor and needy to come and harvest for themselves. It was a lifestyle prepared to make a difference for the less fortunate. The crop already had to be planted for the needy to have access to the fruit. No crop planted meant no provision – for anyone!

What does your field look like? Have you planted a crop in your field? Is a crop already in the process of growth, so that the corners of your field will offer provision for those who come to your door? Are you making your corners available for others?

The thing about my little watch is that no one really wanted it. It doesn’t look like much, but it has served me well, and in some ways, has served me more practically than my nicer more expensive watch. Why is it that those dear poor, sick, elderly people were left in New Orleans and weren’t able to get out? Do we value our poor in a similar way to my cheap little watch?

My heart is so far from where God wants it to be. I/We have got to respond to the call of the Lord and care for these dear ones. When Jesus saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion – are we?

This is a serious question and we need to give the Lord a serious answer. I don’t believe this is an isolated event, but as the earth undergoes her labor pangs, those pangs will become closer and closer together just like a woman in childbirth. We must choose to “move”, to get out of our comfortable worlds and get into the Kingdom of God and let His compassion MOVE us!

As for me, I’m discovering that this little, “insignificant” watch has a lot to teach me. It is time to mount the walls of prayer and compassion for the poor and needy. I need to wear my watch until I can’t tell where it ends and I begin. The Lord has called a “Poor Man’s Watch.” What watch are you on?

Many Blessings!

Michal Ann

Quote –
A man fell in a ditch…
Realist: “That is a ditch.”
Optimist: “Things will get better.”
Pessimist: “Things will get worse.”
Christian Scientist: “You only think you are in a ditch.”
Newspaper reporter: “I’ll pay you for an exclusive story about life in the ditch.”
City Official: “Did you get a permit for your ditch life?”
Mathematician: “I’ll calculate the length and depth and width of the ditch.”
Preacher: “I see three things about the ditch that are noteworthy…”
IRS Agent: “Have you paid your taxes for the ditch?”
A Man: “Give me your hand.” (His name was Jesus.)

Prayer –

Dear Heavenly Father, how we need you! You show us such a depth of love that we cannot comprehend! Your love moves you, stirs you, and does not leave us untouched by Your love. You see into the very center of our hearts, our quiet, hidden fears, loneliness, and shortcomings. In spite of all our junk, You love us anyway, and made a way for us to be reconciled to You forever.

Dear Lord, we ask You to move us and cause us to move ourselves to be in union with You. Forgive us for being comfortable and caring for our little corner of the world, forgetting that Your desire is for us to become Your hands, Your feet, and Your heart to this aching world. Give us the courage we need for the task ahead. Take our hearts of stone and change them into hearts of flesh! For Your holy name’s sake! – Amen.

Applications –

Pray and ask for forgiveness so you will be clean and in right standing with God. And then do something – anything to get you moving in love and compassion. Do something for someone who cannot repay you. Pray and ask the Lord specifically if there is something you can do for some of these people who have gone through this terrible siege! Do something for somebody – for Heaven’s Sake!

If you have been helped today through this devotional, consider printing out 5 copies to give to people who maybe don’t have e-mail capacity, perhaps to some of our elderly brothers and sisters in Christ.

Be Blessed and Encouraged this Day!

(The Late) Michal Ann Goll