2002-09-07 - Mud
A reader replied to our last devotional by stating, "We really don't have to go to a Third World country to see these things. Just go to some rural areas in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and a few other states, and you would ask how in a nation of plenty can there be so much lack."
I thought about that. How can there be? How is it in a country where we are willing to go off to other countries to "witness" to people, can we not find the same love and compassion for the people right next door to us?
That thought, coupled with some life experiences this week, led me to do some serious thinking. Why are we more often like Job's friend's, than like Jesus? Why is it when friends and strangers alike go through a less than favorable time, we tell them that we will pray for them and remind them to do the same, then we split.( Before anyone gets upset, I am a firm, firm believer in prayer) Or we like Job's friends wonder what sin in their life brought on their current situation. Then we discuss how they could have done things differently and avoided the circumstances they find themselves in. All the time, they are desperately in need of the love that we, as Christians, should be overflowing with.
Some of the people who need us the most are right in our own backyard. Sometimes we need to do like James tells us in James 1:25, "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." Maybe being a "doer" requires us to get down into the "mud" and get our hands dirty. Most times, people are not looking for advice, but rather a kind word, a loving hand or just someone to "be there" for them until they are able to get up again on their own.
Maybe it means opening our eyes, not closing them to the pain all around us. It is more comfortable to live in a "box" where we have our Bible studies, have fellowship dinners and go on small evangelism trips. It takes a lot more work to meet someone where they are at and love them.
A friend of mine recently talked about a very difficult time in her life. She said that when she was alone with four children and an infant, holding an eviction notice, out of work and on welfare two weeks before Christmas, she saw the love of God in ways she never could have, had she not been in such a bad place in her life.
One event that really spoke to her was when several teens showed up at her door with Christmas gifts for her family. Everything was new and wrapped nicely. When she asked the girls who they were, so she could at least send them a note of thanks, they told her who they were was not important -- but to thank God for providing for her. They met her needs, both physically and spiritually that day, and with the wisdom many adults do not possess, they allowed God to have the glory for the good they had done.
I am praying God opens my eyes and my heart to see the needs around me, and then gives me the grace and wisdom to allow Him to work through me to meet those needs.
In His Service,