Sitting here, I feel a bit ridiculous. I call my self a “Christ-follower”. I proclaim to believe and follow God incarnate, and yet, I sit here.
I rarely move. I rarely act. I interact, yet what am I really doing?
Tonight I read the UNICEF blog of an actor whom I happen to admire. He is currently traveling in Africa with UNICEF learning about all of the work that they do in malnourished, diseased, and uneducated countries. Clicking on the link that would eventually lead me to what I thought to be a brief update of his travels with a few token snap shots capturing “hey, look at this movie actor doing good things…aren’t you glad we caught it on camera?” moments, I was caught unawares by the detailed and riveting descriptions that I found there. He wrote about the malnourished babies in the hospitals, the uneducated mothers who didn’t even know to breastfeed their children, and the hunger for knowledge that was evident among the people. I read every word, my heart pounding more and more, moved by the depictions and state of affairs in this country.
“Conviction” does not exactly describe what I felt while reading this. Neither does “inspired”. I feel more of an unrest and a lack of peace. I have been reminded yet again of the state of the world and it makes me uncomfortable. I remember what I read earlier this week in the book of Luke. Jesus enters the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day. He opens up the scroll of Isaiah and reads aloud “ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Jesus, the promised Messiah, the Christ, was meant to do these things while on earth, and He did. What does this mean to me, a self-proclaimed Christ-follower? How should this affect my way of life?
My attention is once again drawn to the depictions of this actor in a third world country. He is so honest, so open, and so blunt. I suddenly feel so dirty just sitting here. Sitting. Doing nothing. Why can I not follow the actions taken by that of my Lord? When He saw a need, he filled it. He filled it selflessly and with so much compassion and love that He changed the world for the rest of time and history. The words of Jesus found in the gospel of Luke, “Follow me” echo in my head. This actor realizes the need and is willing to get up close and take an honest look at the situation, yet I sit in my house afraid that of getting too close, terrified of what I will find if I get too close to the hurt, too close to the pain, too close to the physical suffering that screams the question, “Why?” and suggestions the question, “What can I do to help?”.
I, self-proclaimed Christ-follower, am not really following Christ’s example at all. I do not believe that this means that I must immediately sell all of my things and move to Africa and spend the rest of my life feeding the poor, but I do realize that I am not doing much of anything. I am doing nothing….nothing. Even in my interactions with people, I do not seek to help or be present in a way that would be open to help, change, or ministry. I want what I can get out of a person.
I am reminded once again of God’s calling to all people to love Him and to love others. I am reminded of the commission to make disciples of all men. I am reminded of Jesus’ acts of love and kindness that led people to repentance. I am reminded that there is a hurting world and people in need everywhere I go, if I am just willing to see it and make myself available to it.
From the writings of a man whom I have no real idea about except that he has nice eyes, I am encouraged to seek God more passionately and more thoroughly for that which he has called me. I am encouraged to eagerly look for opportunities to serve in any circumstance. I cannot go to Africa now and be a part of the work there due to life circumstances. I cannot even afford to help financially from a distance. But I can practice service and commission now. I can follow Christ now in my everyday circumstances in my interactions with people, in my classes, in my opera production, and in my home showing kindness and compassion and fulfilling needs where I see them, not afraid of seeing the hurt, the pain, the suffering, and of contemplating the question, “Why?”
Give me your eyes, God. Give me your heart. Make me humble. Spur me onto action. Lead me to truth. Lead me to love. Give me courage. Thanks for speaking to me no matter where I am at in life. Forgive me for my sitting, for my apathy, for my excuses. Make me new again and again.