This Sunday our pastor talked about the Creator of the universe coming to earth in the form of a man. We’ve all heard that story, and likely we’ll hear it numerous more times before the holiday season is through. Perhaps we’ve heard it so many times, it no longer impacts us…but let me attempt to bring it back to the heart level.
About two months ago I spoke at a local women’s shelter. I was studying the life of Joseph (as I still am), hence, that was what my message was about. Joseph was a remarkable man who served God wherever he went. As a slave, he served. As a prisoner, he served, and in each instance, his focus was on others. I don’t want to travel down too many rabbit trails here, but in times and places where I would have been consumed with bitterness and self-pity, Joseph looked upon the needs of others. He became a steady beacon of light in some very dark places–an Egyptian dungeon being one of them.
My question to these ladies at the shelter, some of whom were believers and some who were not, was, “What if God has placed you here, right now, to touch someone with His love?”
Many heads nodded and a few eyes grew moist. They understood that I had no business, no right, to speak into the lives of their peers. Sure, I could tell them the love of Jesus, but coming from my nicely furnished home stocked with more food than we could want, it wouldn’t cement. Not like it would coming from one of them who lived a life of poverty day in and day out. Someone who understood the pain of losing everything they had and the fear of not knowing where you and your children would lay their heads that night.
That night, I left with one burning question–to what extent would I go to reach the lost? If God asked me to give up everything, to live among these ladies as a beacon of light, would I? Would you?
We frequently talk about God’s pursuing love for the sinner, and recite again and again the parable of the one lost sheep that wandered from the 99, but has this just become a story? A nice parable that brings us comfort? How seriously do we take the message–that one is worth it all?
To what extent would you go to reach one lost soul?
And to what extent did God go to to reach us?
When I think of what God left in heaven, to come to earth as a helpless babe born to lowly peasants, it is similar to a wealthy businessman sleeping upon the streets of Los Angeles to reach out to that one alcoholic.
To what extent did God go to to reach us? He gave up everything.
Now the real question is, how will you show Him your gratitude this holiday season?
(And fyi, this does not count towards the top three of 2010. grin. But you can comment, tweet or share it anyway.)
Beautiful job, Jennifer. I grew up knowing hunger and am not ashamed to admit it. My mother struggled all of her life and never had it easy, but she was a believer, and I know she’s in heaven waiting for me. I think you did a beautiful job with touching the heart here and illustrated that these parables are much more than mere stories. I wrote a story “The Found Sheep,” but it needs work. Your writing today reminded me of my soap-opera watching days when I watched one where a rich lady ended up at a homeless shelter and found she had a heart. Blessings, Barb
Wow, Jen, some serious thoughts to ponder. I guess my prayer would be that, no matter what path the Lord leads me on, He would give me the grace and strength to see and carry out HIS purpose. Ultimately, we are here to glorify Him. But as you said, easier to say that from the comfort of my own home. Thanks once again for sharing your inspiring thoughts.
Such a powerful reminder of what God did for us. We pay it lip service, but many would, at minimum, turn away if we were asked to do what Joseph did – which isn’t much compared to what Christ did.
We must be willing to make a sacrifice – of praise, of finances, of time.
Thanks, ladies. Barbara, I would imagine you have a very tender heart for others because of what you went through. I have found, those who have struggled often best understand the struggling. And we’ve all heard, which I believe, God never wastes a tear.
Elaine, that is the prayer of my heart, as well, although I am often surprised by my own selfishness. Luckily God is patient and continually draws me back to Him and full surrender.
Great points, Joanne. And you are right–lowering Himself to the form of a man was just the tip of the ice-burg. I cannot imagine what it was like to hang on the cross, bearing the consequences for the sin of all humanity!