We lived in Armuelles, Panama for only twelve months. Armuelles was a small, run down banana town on the northwest coast of Panama. We were two hours from David, the nearest city, and where we went to buy meat and many other staples.
Being one of two foreign families there, we were watched and criticized for many things. I didn’t host the right parties; roll out the money like other executive wives and on and on.
Other mothers would not let their children play at my house because my kids were allowed to go barefoot (I was such a bad mom!), we had cats (cats are dangerous! They spread diseases and make a noise before they attack. A noise I later learned was purring!) and I refused to fire my maid when I found out she had leprosy.
One of the first things I did while there was to begin a bible club for children. Many parents sent their kids to learn English but many refused to let their kids attend because I taught false doctrine. It was a predominately Catholic community. By the time we left, however, I had thirty-three kids on a regular basis.
Just before leaving, I took all the kids to a poor, government run nursing home. We sang, passed out goodie bags and spoke with the residents. Afterwards, one of the fathers said, “I want to thank you for what you have done in our community. No one has ever done anything for the elderly before and you came here, a foreigner, and showed by your example, what we should be doing. And, you took our children with you. Thank you.”
I Peter 2:12 says, “Live such good lives among unbelievers that, through they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits.” Chapter 2:13, says, “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.” Then in 3:16, “…so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
As Peter mentions over and over, we are foreigners living here on earth and people will be watching for things to criticize. Not only are we to be good and live good lives, but we are to DO good works so that unbelievers see and will have no reason to criticize, and will be drawn to God.
I’ve been convicted of not spending enough time among non-believers. Right now I am trying to decide whether to join a hiking club or toastmasters. Maybe I will do both. This is not only because I like hiking and want to improve as a public speaker, but also because I feel God is calling me out into the world.
What good works are you doing so that the world we see and that God will be glorified. Many of us do many good works in our churches but we need to be in the community, mixed in with unbelievers. A candle in a room of candles is not near as bright as a candle in the darkness.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).