“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
The other day my son shared a video with me of him blocking another kid on the basketball court in the gym. Although it was an exciting moment for him, there was disappointment in his voice as he began to explain how this moment had turned into a meme and viral video. When he noticed the video was going viral and negative comments about the other boy who he blocked were being spewed, his joy turned into sadness. That was not his intention at all. An innocent game of basketball turned into a potentially destroyed reputation in a matter of seconds. To add insult to injury, my son mentioned how the people who were making the memes and unkind posts were the young boys so-called, ‘friends.’ He said he shared with the boy that as his friends, they shouldn’t be doing that. Nonetheless, the damage has been done.
The day after this conversation with my son, another moment happened that brought similar grief to my heart. One of my best friends called me in tears and utter disbelief as a fire that was somehow set in the garage of her apartment complex was consuming much of her work equipment. The fire department and police had been there for a while trying to get the fire to die down but what remained of her equipment was barely identifiable. There were lots of people standing around outside as the fire department tried to keep the fire from damaging anything else. Some were dealing with the same loss and misfortune as my friend and others were simply spectators of the moment. The spectators were not looking for ways to console those that had lost their valuables in the fire but rather videotaping the flames that consumed the livelihood and transportation of many people.
The emotions of these two events led me to an unfortunate reality, we live in a culture where we would rather watch the wounded than comfort them. Where often the damage to one person has become the entertainment of another.
And this is the total opposite of what Jesus died for.
I almost found myself going down the dark hole of disappointment until I thought of a story my husband recently shared with me.
He was going on a walk and ran into a young man riding his bike. They stopped and started talking to one another. After spending several minutes trying to remind the young man that they had met before, he begins to engage him in a conversation about Jesus. The young man soon opens up to him about his life and some of the challenges he has experienced. Having no one he could trust and no true relationships, he was merely existing. He was always really good with numbers but a previous accident left him with partial brain damage which led him to believe he was no longer as smart as he still was. Up until this moment, he had been convinced that people looked at him as an object to abuse, misuse, or take advantage of.
Listening intently my husband realized that his hurt ran deep and he truly had a reason for the mistrust that he felt. He made several attempts to help him better understand the heart of God by sharing his personal experiences with friends and family, but since much of the damage, for this young man, was through relationships, my husband was unsuccessful with these connections. Then he said to him,
“Say you were driving and your car broke down on the side of the road. You call everyone you know in an attempt to get help but they say they can’t help you or they tell you to call another person, that isn’t what Jesus would do. Jesus would pull up in a van full of people and although everyone in the van would say, ‘Jesus it’s already full in here, there’s not enough room for him’ he would tell them,‘We will make room’ and help you get to where you’re going. That’s the kind of person Jesus is. He’s not going to leave you stranded on the side of the road.”
The young man began to cry and my husband continued to encourage him.
That’s the kind of person Jesus is, and that’s the kind of person he has called us to be.
When I think of this story I find hope in the truth. The truth that we are not all spectators but many of us are initiators. We don’t always pull out our phones to grab a video but many of us grab the phone to call a friend for help. We don’t always look for ways to tear people down but many of us find ways to build people up.
And this is why the world needs you! Not because you are perfect, but because you’re willing to be the kind of person Jesus was.
You’re willing to speak to the brokenhearted
You’re willing to pray for the lost and the least of these
You’re willing to talk about your painful past to help someone overcome that same pain in their present
You’re willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus that brings redemption to this world
Light only shines in the darkness and it’s time for you to stop hiding and playing the background when God has called your light to the forefront.
Just remember that God placed you in this world, at this hour, because the World would need YOU!