Today, I met Jesus.
This morning I was running late to church and arrived just as sunday school was starting. My church was just beginning a new sunday school class called “Fundamentals of the Faith,” meant for new Christians, but highly recommended by my pastor for anyone. There was a great response to the recommendation, and the class was near full. When I arrived I took one of the few open seats in the back corner. From where I was seated I was the only one who could see into the hallway. So when I saw a woman, Sandy*, awkwardly and hesitantly waited in the hallway I did what anyone would have done–I invited her into our class.
She wasn’t there for class though. She was distraught, poorly dressed, and near tears. Nancy told me that her children’s house had burnt down recently and they were left with no place to live. The mother opened her home to them without hesitation. Her children’s lived across the country, but accepted her gracious offer, packed up the remained of the belongings, and set off for Ohio.
They might not make it to Ohio. They were hit by a drunk driver sometime last night in Oklahoma.
Sandy told me the hospital called her at eight this morning. All they could tell her was to get the hospital as quick as possible. She had $100 to her name, not even enough gas money to make it to Oklahoma. She came to the church to get help.
How humbling it is when someone desperate comes to you for help. I prayed with Sandy and waited with her while we got the Deacons. Once the Deacons were there they asked me to go back to Sunday school. I sat down in my seat and dutifully listened to my pastor talk about fundamentals of the faith–for about 2 minutes. I couldn’t hold down the irony any longer. Talking about Jesus is great, but in that moment is seemed so insufficient. There was a woman in the church who needed our help! How could we sit in ignorance and be content to hold to our Sunday school routine? Bible study is important, but “memorization is only effective if it motivates you to action. It’s great when believers get together to internalize the Bible, but why not externalize it as well?”**
Inherently, scripture comes with a call to action. Action can look very different in different situations, but ultimately is centered around loving God and loving others. Loving others is often the avenue through which we express our love of God. After all, Jesus did say,
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 one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-41)
Everything we do for the desperate, the broken, and the hurting is done unto Jesus. Today, Jesus sat and wept in our sanctuary while we talked about Jesus in Sunday school.
If we say we love Christ, why are we so afraid to run into the streets and find him? Jesus did not leave earth in Acts 1. He is still here, and he is waiting for us. How often do we leave Jesus desperate on our doorstep, alone on a cold street, or hungry in the dark of the night? We long for Jesus to come back, but we don’t see him while he is here.
Friends, Jesus is here. How can we love Him?
I don’t want to do any disservice to my church! We were able to help Sandy and send her on her way to Oklahoma. However, I was afraid to interrupt my pastor during Sunday school to announce that Jesus had arrived and needed our help! It draws the interesting contrast of studying about Jesus without seeking Him.
Please pray for Sandy.
*Names have been changed for privacy.
**Goff, Bob. “10 Ways To Live An Extroidinary Life.” Relevant Magazine Nov.-Dec. 2012: 61. Print.