“And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.” -1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 (MSG)
When you think of undying, unwavering commitment, who comes to your mind? I have always been inspired by athletes and coaches who have that type of “over-the-top” commitment. It gets my competitive juices flowing. When I see players with tenacity, it makes me ready to strap on the pads and lace up the shoes!
Competitors who are willing to hang in over the long haul have always motivated me. For me, the one person who comes to my mind when I think of radical commitment is a 4-foot, 9 inch, 61-year-old grandma named Su-Ja Parks (aka Grandma Parks). I know what you are thinking: “That is not the image of commitment that came to my mind.” It wasn't mine, either, until I met her in South Korea on a FCA missions trip. Grandma Parks is a 61-year-old youth pastor in Seoul, South Korea, who has been ministering to young people for 37 years. Talk about undying, unwavering commitment!
FCA had its first-ever South Korea Sports Camp with 175 Korean athletes in August of 2007. We took a team of 21 FCA staff and coaches to put on a soccer, swimming and basketball camp. While we were coaching and training the athletes, Grandma Parks caught my eye by the way she was “jumping” into the icebreakers and sports competition. She had enthusiasm that was contagious. All day long, she loved on the girls in her huddle. At the soccer clinic, she played and participated in every drill. She said that she never had played soccer before, but with a smile beaming across her face said, “I am younger today for playing.”
Each night, I watched her worship God with incredible passion. She prayed over the kids nonstop, laying hands on the kids and interceding on their behalf. One night she was on her knees on the wood floor for over an hour. She had to be helped up by two people! It took her several minutes before she could stand on her own.
God used Grandma Parks to change my life. She marked my life forever. I will never forget her. What gripped me was her commitment to the kids and to the Lord. Year after year, she served the youth in her church. I thought she was just an old lady who volunteered for the camp. Little did I know that she was a spiritual giant, standing at 4’9”. She was anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring life change!
When I think about Grandma Parks I am:
Amazed by her faithfulness.
Humbled by her impact.
Blessed by her prayers.
Changed by her love.
Motivated by her service.
Challenged by her commitment.
Convicted by her passion.
I now realize there are Grandma Parks in every nation that are being used as God’s spiritual giants to change the world. As we continue to see God open doors to the nations, there are Grandma Parks already on their knees praying for revival. They have prepared the ground, and we just have to be obedient to go … and God will show us how and where to serve.
I desire to be found faithful like Grandma Parks. I am sure that the Lord says to her at the end of every day, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” She is my new hero. Lord, thank You for bringing her into my life. She taught me what undying, unwavering commitment is all about.
“Father God, continue to rise up spiritual giants in every nation. I want to be found faithful like Grandma Parks. Teach me what it means to have undying, unwavering commitment for You alone, Lord. So many times I waver in my faith. I have so many fears and doubts. During these times of second-guessing, strengthen my faith and encourage my heart. May my love for You overflow into other lives. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."