by Jessie Perrie

“Look to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth,
for I am God, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:22

The statement, “and there is no other”, while it comes at the end of the verse, is the foundation and the source for all the lines preceding it. We look with our lives; we direct that look to God; we apply it for all people; we experience the character of God as love; and, finally, we are assured that none of it is done in vain. We are assured knowing that all of the effort that goes into supporting a relationship isn’t wasted because we are putting our time, our care, our love into the right being. We have committed ourselves to the true God, “there is no other”.

It is this understanding and passion that brought each of us to this church tonight (a Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries and Zion Hill Baptist Church worship service). Each of these people in the Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries mission family say “yes” this summer to committing their time, passion, and energies into sharing that understanding and passion with other people.

It has been an honor to know each person on staff this summer –to hear their stories and to understand how God has moved in their lives to bring them to this point. They each recognize the power and the love that draws them in deeply to following and pursuing truth.

The stories this staff tell from those with whom we minister are equally powerful. Many of these stories are categorized by moments or pathways of awareness in living an unfulfilling life that was focused mainly on self-service. And I am sure, as many of you know, this path can be one that can often feel rather bleak and hopeless. But the ends of their stories are the same –finding truth, finding purpose, finding others—all this came by looking to God, the one true God who brings peace and fulfillment to all.

Each week I get to encounter moments where I get to watch this staff bring that same hope and life to the people they are encountering. I see the joy they bring when they enter a room because of their sincerity and passion. When you follow the truth, people notice. When you live intentionally, people notice. When you love freely, people are moved. I am thankful for the opportunity I get to have, and that all of us get to have, in encountering the truth through each other and in sharing the truth with others.

May we continue to be a beacon of that love and purpose not only to those that don’t have love and purpose in their lives but to each other as well. We rest assured knowing that our work is done in serving the truth, in serving God, in knowing “there is no other”.