Before I start, I need to get something out of the way. This morning, I don’t have a proof reader sooo, before y’all even start the next paragraph, ask the Holy Spirit to help you to understand what He wants you to understand, not what I may have (or may not have) written! Now. Let the blogging begin!
First off, this was a great weekend! Tucker had a 48 hour pass from The Foundry, and as always, it’s a busy weekend when he’s home. Steve and Tucker got up early Saturday morning to head down to the hunting club. Tucker hasn’t been to the hunting club in about 11 years or so, because he was far too busy doing drugs, and being in jail and stuff. He said, “Dad, this time you actually get to show them how I’m doing instead of lying and saying eh, he’s ok, or just saying I don’t know!” He was so proud!
Tucker had killed his first deer at that hunting club! He was only 10! He loved going hunting with his dad! But for so many years, if Steve even mentioned going to the hunting club, Tucker would show no interest. I know a lot of the reason, for not wanting to go, was shame. He knew those guys would be disappointed in him. But I gotta tell y’all, the smile on his face, as he was telling me about how Dan, the old man who owns the club, was so proud of him, was worth a million bucks! I can’t even explain how much of a blessing it was to us, when he was so excited to go down there with his dad! And I had it all planned out how I was going to enjoy my day alone!
I was going to sleep late for starters. Well, that didn’t happen. Steve and Tucker couldn’t have been louder while they were getting ready, not to mention they had turned on every light in the house! I just got up and made a cup of coffee, thinking I’d go back to sleep when they left. As I was about to snuggle back up, I get a phone call from my friend Gerrel, saying that he wants to bring someone by to meet me. Her name is Brandy. She’s a 32 year old, ex prostitute who has AIDS. Well, so much for going back to sleep. I’m ashamed to write what’s about to come next, but I don’t have much of a choice. I feel compelled to share the spiritual butt kicking God dealt me this weekend.
At first I was like, ugh I gotta get up and get a shower and put on make up. Then I thought, well, she’s an ex prostitute, for cryin’ out loud! Its not like she’ll be all fixed up! Why should I have to get all fixed up for her? Wow, what an arrogant, pompous, stuck up attitude! God politely told me to get up and look nice for her! He reminded me that no matter what she’d done , or where she’d been, she was His daughter and He loved her! He told me I had better treat her with love, and like the princess she is! OUCH! So, I drug my butt out of bed and got ready. Besides, they wouldn’t be here long, and I could go visit my friend Amy after they left. Well, God had yet another change of plans for me! Brandy ended up staying here all day!
We looked through all the old stuff we’d found in storage units. Brandy was mesmerized by all the cool, old stuff! Which I loved because, not many people enjoys looking at that stuff with me! We went to the thrift store and the antique store, then we went out to lunch. We came back to our house and hung out with Steve and Tucker, who’d gotten home earlier than expected. Apparently she was having a lot of fun because she declared she’d be spending her 48 hour pass with us! WHOA! Hold up! I didn’t sign up for this! I was already worn out from today! I can’t be doing an entire weekend of this!
In my head I was already drumming up excuses. After all, who likes being inconvenienced?! Not this chick! Besides, Brandy is a new christian at best! She’s extremely rough around the edges, to say the least. I mean, hanging out with someone like her is quite taxing. As all these things were going on in my head, God kept nudging me, trying to remind me that it’s not about me! But y’all, I’m ashamed to admit this too, but I was trying my best to ignore Him! Then Sunday rolled around and we went to church. That sermon though!
Gresh preached about the beggar who sat at the gate called Beautiful. It’s in Acts, chapter 3. Go read it! He talked about how Peter and John were on their way to church, and how it would’ve been easy to just overlook the beggar, but instead they knelt down and engaged him. He talked about how church is like a pep rally, to encourage and recharge us, and how ministry often happens, during the interruptions on the way to do church things! He talked about how Peter and John didn’t point out how jacked up his legs were, they didn’t demand that this man be removed from this spot because he was blocking the way of people getting to church. They didn’t turn up their noses because he was different. They simply ministered to him. And in doing so, he was healed!
Y’all, doing churchy things is not ministry. Ministry is pouring into those who are often thought of as less than desirable. Ministry often means being inconvenienced, and sometimes annoyed. Ministry is putting self aside and putting others ahead. Ministry is simply loving others the way Jesus did. Sometimes it’s tough love, sometimes it’s sweet and gracious love. But it’s always love! Ministry is hanging out with a princess who thought she was a prostitute. I say thought because that may have been the way she was behaving, but that’s not who God created her to be! That’s just who the devil convinced her she was! Ministry is being tolerant of “rough around the edges” and allowing the Holy Spirit to change those things in people! Lord, help me be the person you’d want me to be!!! Help me see everyone the way You’d have me see them! Lord, help me with me!
A prostitute and a church going, small group leading, mature christian woman walk into a bar. Know what they have in common?
They’re both sinners! And they’re both loved equally by the one, true God!
Y’all, this week look for those who may be sitting at the gate called Beautiful! Try not to see them as an annoyance or an inconvenience. Try to see them as opportunities to show love!
The Gate Called Beautiful
At the gate called Beautiful, there the beggar sat.
Few might’ve tossed him a penny,
Or piously patted his back.
Others may have said God bless you,
Or mumbled bless his heart.
But no one looked him in the eyes.
No one cared to see his heart.
At the gate called Beautiful, for years the beggar sat.
Not knowing one day he’d change the world,
Or that he’d run and never look back.
Few had hardly noticed him.
He had been accepted by even less.
But this beggar would become a believer,
And thousands would be blessed!
At the gate called Beautiful the beggar sat no more.
He was now running, and jumping, and shouting!
And praising his faithful Lord!
In Heaven who will answer for all the years the beggar sat at the gate?
Every believer who walked by and did nothing!
Or for them will it be too late?
Christa Hawkins 2015