It’s Saturday morning, you have a laundry list of ‘need to do’ items, right behind that is your list of ‘want to do’ items, then of course, there is the actual laundry to do…the phone rings. You’re in the middle of sorting dirty laundry and you grab your phone, you recognize the number and you have just a moment to decide if you answer or if you let it go to voice mail. Do I have time today to take the call, do I have time to talk or visit, or fulfill whatever request may come from the other end of the phone. In a split second you can think of 101 different legitimate reasons to swipe down, and just one to swipe up.
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps – reading the Bible.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together)
Christianity, being a Christ follower will always be inconvenient. It will be rare for the Lord to bring someone across your path where it will be easy, convenient, comfortable, and timely to serve as Christ to that person. Christ calls us to step out and step up and be him in a broken and weary world.
He sent his disciples out into the world to share the gospel under resourced, with little direction, to share the Gospel, “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The Kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. ‘Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts – no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep…I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Matthew 10:7-16
He is going to send us out where we don’t want to go, with little in hand, to places unfriendly. Jesus said a great deal about what it will cost us to be his disciple. He didn’t mince words, and he didn’t sweeten it up, he told us it would be hard and take everything, and yet, we keep making excuses.
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27
You swipe up, answer the call, stop what you are doing to lend a prayerful hand to someone in need. Then something incredible happens – from the depth of your weariness you receive the grace needed – to provide more than requested, and demonstrate Christs love to someone who desperately needed it. You miraculously had the right words to say, the needed resources to provide, and the time required to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
The laundry is still there, your list of ‘to dos’ still needs to be done, but God allowed you to enter into the midst of the beautiful, the graceful, and the merciful. There will always be more to do in our lives, laundry, dishes, work, school, family obligations, shopping, and cleaning. Once we can accept that the endless list is endless, and there will always be more to do, we can let ourselves off the hook and focus on doing that which will make the most difference in God’s kingdom…spoiler alert…it’s not laundry.
God cares about people and while Jesus told us that he knows what we need and that our Father in Heaven will provide for those needs, he is calling us to care about people like he does. When we do that, when we love his people the way he loves us, we get to enter into his kingdom, here on earth and our inheritance in heaven.
“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. 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, 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.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink: When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for on of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:34-40
I get it, it’s challenging to weigh the needs of our lives and our family’s needs in this world against what we’re called to do and be as part of Christ’s kingdom. At the beginning of the article, I stated that we’ll have 101 reasons to swipe down and only one to swipe up. Well, I was wrong there are two reasons to swipe up the first is easy, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), the second, well…if it were you on the other end of the phone, in need, weary, distraught, in need of assistance – wouldn’t you pray that someone answered?
Please help me share the good news of Jesus and how He can change your life, and our world!
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