Monday, October 28, 2013

Compassionate Strength

Our passage on Sunday is both a sad story and a story that leads us to hope.  It is sad because in Matthew 23:37-39 and Luke 19:41-44 Jesus weeps over people He loves ... people who are blind to His holy presence and identity ... people who are caught up in the temporal and oblivious to the eternal.  When I read this passage I think of the churches I have attended and people I have met who are caught up in non-eternal issues at the expense of Jesus' announcement of His kingdom.  I, on a much lesser scale, have wept some of those tears that flowed from love and compassion for people I desire to see make it to a heavenly home.

But I have also seen hope.  I remember one Sunday I was preaching about Jesus feeding the 5,000 and I heard the usual "good sermon" and "you gave us something to think about."  I was walking to my office thinking that this day was like others where I had challenged people to serve but they had taken the information without following with application.  My reading of Jesus' words "You feed them" had fallen on deaf ears.  That is, until a petite young lady came up and said, "You are right!  We need to feed them."  Not the 5,000 but hundreds of local kids who got good meals during the school week but came back to school on Monday hungry and in a state of food insecurity.  They didn't learn, participate or test as well as other children because they were nutritionally challenged.  My young friend took her compassionate heart and put it to work.  First she met with a local elementary school and got permission to leave 5 backpacks filled with easy-to-prepare food for the weekend for 5 needy kids.  In several months she was using the library of the church as a staging area to fill 30+ backpacks.  Now over 150 kids are fed each week and, to date, 7,000 meals have been provided to kids who are healthier, more ready to learn, and glad that at least one thing in their lives is secure.

You are probably saying, "She is a super saint!"  I can't share the issues that I knew my friend had faced, the decisions she made for her family or the struggles she had getting this ministry started.  What I can share is that she had a willing spirit, compassion for other people and strength to say, "Here I am Lord ... send me!."  Jesus said, "You feed them!"  So ... she did!  Randy

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