I am sure I am not the only one that has gone to the shop with the intention of buying one thing and coming back out with an armful. Today I had a good excuse, there was a great deal on kid’s crafts and I got a huge box full for an upcoming camp with 70% off. What I forgot was that my car was parked far away, but I was so excited about the deal, I felt like superwoman and was determined to carry them to the car anyway. About half way, I realised I probably was a little bit hasty in thinking I had the strength to do this. The box was awkward in size and meant I probably looked like an accident waiting to happen as I walked down the street, but I persevered as I continued to reveal in the great deal I had scored.
While stopped at the lights, a man said to me, “Have you read the Word today?” Holding a tract and very keen to give it to me, I smiled and said, “No thanks”. But he persisted. I am not sure how he thought I was supposed to take the tract from him, but I could tell he was not going to take, “No” for answer. The “no walk” sign still shining so he had me cornered. I decided to pull out the “Christian” card and said, “Thanks, I am a Christian.” Immediately it became clear that this was not going to stop him either as he continued to question me further. I jostled the box backward and forward trying to showing him that I was actually struggling with my load. The light finally went green and I was able to escape further conversation, thank goodness.
Arriving at the next intersection, I could see my car, the end was in sight, when an older lady walked up to me and asked me if she could help me with the box. I explained that my car was only a few more metres away and thanked her very much for her offer. She made me smile, what a lovely gesture on her behalf.
This reminded me of the religious scholar who asked Jesus for a sure fire ticket to eternal life. This man had clearly read the Scriptures and knew it read, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbour as well as you do yourself.”(Luke 10: 28-29) “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.” Looking for a loophole, the scholar asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbour’?”
Jesus proceeded to tell the story of the Good Samaritan, a story many people still know well, but probably need to live out much more in our daily life. Today, that lady on the street was my neighbour and she probably wasn’t even a Christian. I am part of a movement called “Here2stay” that seeks to look at what it means to help people become lifelong disciples of Jesus. It has been said of Here2Stay (here2stay.org.au) that its focus is too much on DOING and not enough on The Gospel as WORD. We emphatically believe that both are important. I love God’s Word and all it teaches and encourages me, but today reminded me of how important DOING can be to daily life. How easy is it to stand and exhort people to read God’s Word but miss the opportunities to show love in very practical ways.
We talk about INFORMATION + FORMATION = TRANSFORMATION
They are both important. Some may disagree with me, but I think the church has focused too much on INFORMATION and too little on FORMATION. Both are needed for TRANSFORMATION but the lady who was willing to simply lend her hand and help me, exemplified Christ to me. Through her actions she not only brought a smile to my face, but reminded me of what type of TRANSFORMED disciple I want to be. Would I have done the same if I saw ME struggling down the road with a big box? Or would I have just walked on by? As I sit and write this, I am aware that I can easily and very happily sit in the comfort of my room upstairs at home and read and study God’s Word, write blogs and messages to speak out God’s word as Gospel. Can I easily fall into the trap of becoming like the man on the corner asking people have they read the WORD today and miss the chances to BE Christ to those I encounter.
If we are going to see TRANSFORMATION in people’s lives, it must start first in us. What kind of neighbour are you? In a world that needs God’s love and “Word” more than ever, how can we be a part of the TRANSFORMATION we long to see?
To read more about what it means to be "Here2stay"…….click this link.