Today’s Devotional Tidbit
I stretched out my hands all day long to stubborn people. They chose to go the wrong direction. They followed their own plans. – Isaiah 65:2 (GWT)
Last Thanksgiving I was at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, TX playing football with about 25 Albanian-Americans. Now that’s a hyphenation one doesn’t come across too often. The passes, curse words and insults were flying. About one third of the men on the field owned pizzerias around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
My friend Steve and his two sons had invited me to play at their family football game, probably because they had never seen me in action. My mission in life was explained to me by God on that wet chilly morning, not audibly, but visibly. I was taught that mission is life. God allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, otherwise known as “Brian’s Box.”
During my time in ministry, I’ve had an uncanny knack of straying/staying away from people with rough edges. Last Thanksgiving, I rubbed shoulders with, got smashed in the mouth by and had a wonderful time with those same rough edged people. Not the best football player in the world or even on my block, God gifted me with an outstanding 30 yard one-handed reception near the goal line that gave me instant credibility with those that didn’t know me. My left arm was extended as far as it could go, my hands outstretched. I think an instant replay would have shown my feet were in the air. The ball hit my hand and I guided it downward and hugged it as I smashed to the ground. Although, I wished my little boy could have seen my great catch, I was a bit relieved he didn’t hear the obscenity filled compliments aimed my way.
My desire to protect my son from filthy language, bad attitudes or bad behaviors, has kept me, at times, from reaching into certain lives (the line between overprotection/common sense is very fine). Those are lives that God wants me to reach. There is a world of people among us that we conveniently brush by as we rush to be the first congregation to visit the well groomed family that just moved to the neighborhood and may be looking for a new church home. We want to reach the truly unchurched, but do our actions match our words? Are we hanging around people that speak and act in ways that might possibly shock us? Does being “salt and light” mean never spending time with people with rough edges? Is that what Jesus did? There may be people just next door that are heading in the wrong direction and following their own plans. So think about it, where does God want to use you as his outstretched hands? And never forget, we Christians have a lot of rough edges ourselves. If you don’t believe that, just follow me home sometime.
This Thanksgiving, I was back at the football field. Before the game, I went to McDonalds with Isa (Steve’s brother) and his son for coffee as we waited for Steve and the others to show up. The game began late and I only played with them for about an hour, but it was still enough time to make some good defensive plays and get hammered to the ground (clipping they said). My bride says the blood might even wash out of my jeans.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving,