Archive - January, 2010

Speak with Authority & Conviction

 

I love this!

Typography about language by Ronnie Bruce / Slam poet Taylor Mali’s, “Totally Like Whatever, You Know?”

Discovery

I love this picture.  But all too often I think my life looks a lot like it.  Now, don’t start thinking I’m really all that important or that my days are frantically busy.  It’s all just an illusion.

All too often I run around with this inner thought that life is all about me and that the world actually in some sort of little way revolves around me.  It’s why my wife says that I like to be thanked when I stay out in the cold to fix the garage door, or empty the dish washer, or turn on a load of clothes every now & then (did I mention I always forget to fold them?).  When I do little acts of service, I have to say, “hey look at me!”  We all love to be noticed & to be in the spotlight.

But I’ve got to share something with you that i’ve discovered this year!  There’s actually a greater place to stand than in the spotlight.  I’ve noticed that when you are busy being busy, you wind up missing everyone else.

This last Sunday I preached a message from John 14 and referenced a strange passage in Matthew 25.  When Jesus comes in glory He will gather the nations to himself and he will separate the sheep from the goats (judgment).  After judgment happens, the story goes like this,

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Last Wednesday night we were driving home from small group and Katie saw a friend of ours named John standing out on the corner begging for money.  She called me and said she felt like I should go back & check on him.  The boys were with me in the car, so we stopped switched cars & I went back.

On the way I thought of a million excuses.  What would I do for him?  Motels are so expensive & we aren’t rich.  There are so many homeless & there have been so many cold nights & will be so many more….yada, yada, yada.

I found John on the corner – a little drunk; very cold; & extremely lonely.  I told him to get in & we rode around for a few minutes. He shared with me how he use to have a normal job, & house, & wife.  But how divorce, bone cancer & life sent him into a downward spiral.  All he said he really had left was His faith in God.  I’m always inspired to see simple faith, even in “the least of these.”  “The least of these” who I too often drive, walk, and fly right by.  Because I’m so busy being me.  In the spotlight, looking out for number one.  Making sure I’m noticed.

On Wednesday night, I told John I had been thinking about him & hoping he was warm & okay.  He responded, “wow, it’s really good to know your being thought of.  That really means a lot.  I don’t usually think anybody is thinking about me.”  I dropped John off at A.J.’s over on 10th.  A.J. doesn’t have much but he lets people stay at his apartment for $10/night.  He said he can’t stand to see humans suffering in the cold.  He was a simple poor man – who was exactly right.  Honestly sometimes I think I worry about my cat more than I worry about the people I pass everyday.

I made John a deal.  I paid for 4 nights & told him I’d see him at 9:30am on Sunday morning.  I’m praying he’ll be there to be picked up.  I’m praying he will not feel self-conscious in church.  I’m praying he’ll be received and loved as if he were just like you and me.  I’m praying no one will see him as my project.  Because he’s not, he’s just a guy who lives under the bridge at 21st & Wedgewood.  He’s a guy who’s made poor decisions.  He’s a guy who’s down on his luck.  He’s a guy who struggles with sin. He’s a guy who needed a Savior, just like you & me.

I’m praying God will give me the grace to slow down a little more.  I’m reminded already this year how great it feels to love Jesus more than myself.  The easiest way to do that, is to love “the least of these.”

And here’s my big discovery.  When I slow down long enough to love “the least of these.”  I am finding that as I seek to meet their physical need, I am becoming more & more aware of their spiritual need.  It’s almost like a secret.  If you want to see your heart awakened to the gospel.  If you want to get a heart for the world.  If you want to see humanity as Jesus did.  Just start right here, in your own backyard, on the street where you drive, in the coffee shop where you sit, at the job where you work, and be on the lookout.  Slow down, just a little, and don’t be surprised when you see Jesus – in one of the most unlikely places imaginable.  In a little community called – “The Least Of These.”