I was working late a few years ago and saw a couple of homeless guys settling down for the night, I knew that they slept there but I didn’t realise that one of them was about my age! I suddenly thought “there but by the grace of god go I!”
I have been so blessed, I have so much! I do not mean in material terms but actual blessings, a great family, wonderful kids, a job, good health, a home with four walls, food in the cupboard and clothes on my back!
I worked with someone who was about the same age as me, he came from the same town as me, he had similar experiences to me, he went to a church that I had been in (not at the same time though!), his response to certain experiences he had, was to fight! He was bitter towards church and God, as I chatted to him I thought “there but by the grace of god go I!” Literally, I could have become like him but the choices I made meant that I was not bitter towards life and God!
When that thought hits us, should we just think it and then do nothing or should we decide to be a blessing to those who have not got what we have? Should we be the difference?
The most dangerous thing to ask God is “Lord show me what is making you sad, break our hearts, with the things that break yours!” I will never forget being at a funeral, in the lead up to it I was thinking “I cannot possibly understand what they are going through!”, but as soon as the tiny baby’s coffin came into the church, not a single person had dry eyes, including me!
I am currently on a course where I am learning british sign language, and I have started recording the occasional programs that are broadcast, dramatising the experiences of deaf people, this has hit a chord with me and I was shocked at how Alexander Graham Bell was portrayed in one program, wanting to “eradicate” the deaf race by the use of eugenics and banning marriage between two deaf people! Despite the invention of the telephone being a result of his wife and mother being deaf causing his interest in acoustics, he wanted people to not have that “affliction”.
My son has picked up a lovely habit from his cousin, every time he prays, he asks God to “Please help the Africans, Please help the African people to have food and drink!” My only issue with him doing that is that we shouldn’t just pray for God to help them! I need to find a way for him to be able to consciously help the situation he is praying for, I truly believe that we should not complain about situations, if there is something wrong, then we need to do something about it!
A lot of people are looking for that “big break“, the thing that will transform their lives! I have heard a couple of times that when people are “baptised in the holy spirit“, their whole outlook and lives change! One time I actually went for prayer as I thought “if that’s true, I want some of that!” But, this is foolhardy, if we are constantly looking for the “next big thing” for us to do, then we will miss the times that we can be “normal” and enable someone else to hear or experience the gospel, true christian love.
It is easy to get caught up in ourselves, take my children for example (You cannot have them! I am illustrating my point!) My children are hilarious, I was taking my daughter to my sister’s house last week, and she wanted to push my son’s scooter with one foot either side of it, but as she was so preoccupied with keeping it straight, she walked straight past the house and kept on going!
My son on the other hand finds it really hard not to look around and see what others are up to, he sometimes is so preoccupied with looking around that he doesn’t eat all his lunch because he wants to get outside and play! I sometimes have to do the old hypnotist click and say “and you’re back in the room!” and then you actually have his attention!
When I was a teenager I gave a talk at a few meetings, which was inspired by a dream I had about running in a race, the passages I came across about running in a race, discussed pressing forward to the prize! I spoke about helping others in their struggles to complete the race but not forgetting you are meant to be running too!
No one will ever beat Usain Bolt or Farah, if they look around at what is going on in the rest of the stadium and likewise we won’t get far in our faith, if we spend too much time looking at what everyone else is up to!
We will not get far in life, if all we do is look down and concentrate on our own actions. After a while the self-obssessed thinking will mean that we have missed too many opportunities to be a part of other people’s lives and help them when they need it!
As I testified at my baptism, we have so much, we have health, we have life, we have jobs, we have family, we have homes, we have clothes, we have food! We have God’s grace, we have Jesus as our brother! We have the holy spirit in us! If others have not got any of these, surely it is the responsibility of us as followers of Christ to either provide or help those if we can!