Do you remember back in the ’90’s how popular this acronym was? Bracelets, necklaces, hats all carried this logo. I wondered then, and I still do, though, did we and do we really mean to ask that question of God and act on God’s answer?
Last Saturday a woman, perhaps 50-ish, sat perspiring on the bench in front of our house, along the street. She wasn’t one of the elderly people who live in this 55+ community, for whom the bench is a welcome respite from their walks. No, she was there with a much more pressing need. A tiny dog peeped out of her large handbag as she explained that she’d listened to her daughter’s advice to “Go out, Mom!” and had ridden down to the casino with some friends. These friends stayed ALL night at the casino, and when she asked if they could drive her back home around 4 a.m., they told her they wanted to stay longer. She walked around outside for a time, and got in the car when they came out. Immediately she fell asleep, assuming they’d take her back to her house. Instead she awoke around 7 a.m. in the car, parked in the driveway of one of the “friends”, about 25 miles from her house. The door to their house was locked, so she set off on foot to walk back home.
She thought she’d walked about 5 miles by the time she found the bench to sit and rest on. A total stranger, bloodshot eyes, missing teeth, straggly hair …. What WOULD Jesus do? Advise her to get better friends? Suggest she call a taxi to drive her 20 miles north? Suggest she call the police and ask for help? Say, ”Gosh, that’s too bad. I’d like to help you out, but I have work to do in the yard”?
Was my personal safety to be my first concern? Should I let a total stranger inconvenience me? Nobody forced her to go to a casino, and good grief, she went to a CASINO! She wasn’t family or a friend, so what did I owe her?
WDJS: What did Jesus say?
32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
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, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25: 32-45 NIV
WWJD? What DID Jesus do when the bleeding woman (against the ”law” to be in public if you’re bleeding AND for a woman to touch a man) touched his robe? (Matthew 9: 18-26) What did he do when the Canaanite woman asked him to heal her child possessed with demons? (Matthew 15:22) What did he do when blind beggar Bartimaeus cried out, shouted for Jesus to heal his eyes? (Mark 10: 46-52) When the Samaritan woman at the well, five times married and on her sixth man, asked him to give HER the Living Water he spoke about? (John 4: 4-26) When a despised tax collector who’d defrauded people asked Jesus to come to his house? (Luke 19: 1-10)
It was pretty obvious to me what I should do, so I invited her in the house to wash her face (show her some dignity), have some breakfast (feed her stomach) and a cup of coffee (help her stay awake) , listen to her story (express that she was indeed a human being worth being heard), feed her little dog (just plain compassion), and drive her 20 miles north to her house. AND tell her – yes, we NEED to explain IN WORDS WHO inspires our compassion – that it wasn’t my goodness, but Jesus’ love for me that translated into Jesus’ love for her, that moved me to “inconvenience” myself to help her. I prayed with her before she got out of the car, asking God to show her HIS love and HIS presence and provision for her that day and all week, and to bring true Jesus-loving friends into her life. Truthfully, her physical needs were the red flag to reveal her deeper spiritual needs, to KNOW GOD is real, GOD cares for her, GOD can work though otherS to MEET HER PHYSICAL NEEDS TO MAKE AN OPENING FOR GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO BEGIN TO MINISTER HEALING TO HER DEEPER SPIRIT/HEART HUNGER AND THIRST. Tearfully she smiled and walked up the gravel driveway to her rented mobile home.
And I drove back home, in awe that God had given me an opportunity to show HIS love to someone who probably wasn’t, and hadn’t been for a long time, feeling loved and valued.
PLEASE don’t commend me for being “holy”! Self-righteousness stinks, and I try to run from it like the plague it is. All I did was remember Jesus, trust to see Him sitting beside her on that bench (with his WWJD bracelet on his pierced wrist) and invite Jesus to invade my morning, upset my plans, and show me out of His grace that He still loves me and likes me and values me enough to ask me to show others HIS love. I helped Carly, but JESUS blessed me through her need.
This was the third time in three days that God reminded me He still loves me and is here with in the ongoing spiritual warfare I’m up against. Yes, LORD GOD, YOU are on the throne in all of this, and the story ain’t over till YOU say it’s over and get YOUR glory and victories. In the meantime, THANK you, thank, you, that YOU still speak and love in me and through me. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:8-39
A “…BUT…” to pray: Lord, Father God, I’ll be I’ve walked unknowingly right past Jesus so many times in my life. I know that I’m not to be a “doormat” and I do need healthy boundaries in my life, BUT GOD, please nudge me, tell me, prompt me, SHOVE me if I need shoving to open my eyes to true needs in the world around me that are opportunities and blessings in disguise, and help me plainly and in humility TELL WHY I’m showing kindness, so I can be an active agent of YOUR LOVE. I’m asking You today to open my eyes and my heart as I ______________________________________________________. Thanks that Your mercies are new every morning, today is a fresh start, and you know the motives of my heart.Enable me to be bold when I need, to show YOUR love,maybe even to __________________________________________________________________ and always, only by YOUR power and grace. In Jesus’ name, thank you, and Holy Spirit, I’m listening ____________________________________________________________