Archive for March, 2013

A day for my Lord

What is Easter about? Do people even know? Do I know? Does anyone know? The years have come and gone for two-thousand of them – that’s eight-thousand seasons of cold nights, snow, hot, sticky mornings, blossoming flowers and dead dry leaves. The miracles get forgotten. The life he lived becomes lost in the drudgery of work and running errands. The sacrifices seem minimal now and for many not at all. We place God under the piles of to-do lists and hide him away until the stores stock candy and cards that eventual remind us that Easter is on its way. Then we dress in our church costumes of pressed slacks and Sunday dresses with polished shoes that shimmer as we all stand in line waiting to file into church for a ritual that means nothing to those clamoring for a seat.

Here is an Easter tale for you that will make you promise to do better, but God is too distant, and we fill our lives with TV and after-school activities and phones that hold hundreds of games. You will say that you will change. You will agree that this is what Easter should be about, but who are we kidding? When you click off this page, or even if you read these words, you will be on to something new, and God stills waits, and God still loves, and God still forgives, but if you don’t take the time to know him, what difference is it if he waited; if you don’t embrace his love, and reciprocate it, what difference does it make that he shows us his love, and if you hold the world’s hate and don’t forgive, what is his forgiveness?

But the tale must be told, and if one person does see the meaning of Easter, if one person opens a connection with God, if one person loves his neighbor or forgives those that hurt her, then the tale was worth it, and I’m glad I felt well enough to type it.

See, this story begins with me working too many hours and not spending time with my wife, or going to church, or leading my meetings on Wednesday or Thursday, or even calling my kids. I’m not a good man, but I know that God’s love will show me where he needs me to be, and on this Easter, it was leaving almost an hour early so that my wife and I could eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. We left early because I had skipped breakfast so that I could have a big meal at the steakhouse, and plus, I wanted the time with my wife since I’ve worked all weekend.

But as we pulled into the parking lot, we passed a woman on her phone, standing beside her car. She wasn’t parked in a spot, but more along the curb, so after we parked I asked Monica is she thought that woman needed help, and sure enough, as we got towards the back of the truck, we could see she had a flat, and Monica asked her if she needed assistance.

She explained she did. She didn’t have a jack, but she had a small donut spare. She had tried calling people she knew, but no one had a jack. I immediately went and got out the truck’s jack and tools, but I could tell they wouldn’t fit under the car. These tools were made for lifting a pickup not a car that is just inches off the ground. So we stood there thinking, and we decided to first call a tow truck, but after it was determined it would take an hour to 90 minutes for them to get there we scraped that idea and decided to ask someone for a car jack. The restaurant was packed and so was the parking lot, so there were plenty of people.

Monica went in the restaurant and asked. No one had a jack. I stopped a family dressed in their Sunday clothes rushing back to their car, complaining that someone had parked too close to them. I stopped them and asked if they had a jack. They didn’t even stop getting into their car as he answered first, “not one that will work on your car,” still griping about that car too close, and the wife, said as she was shutting her door, “it only works on our car.” I can understand; they didn’t want to get their church clothes dirty getting it out of the trunk, and besides the woman’s car wasn’t a new car or even a clean car, and I was dressed in shorts and a Hulk t-shirt. Monica asked an elderly couple getting into their car, but they simply said they couldn’t help. Cars passed by, and people parked and walked on.

We solved the problem by going to Wally world and buying a jack. It worked. And after an hour of working on the tire we got it off and the spare put on, so she could drive to Tomball where she worked. That was at least 30 minutes away from where we were. We exchanged names, and Monica and I wished her well and a safe trip. So during all that one young guy on a bike stopped and asked if we needed help, but that was when we needed a jack.

We were out there for one hour and 30 minutes, and only one person even paused long enough to offer help. I got sunburned. I was so tired that we went in the restaurant, ordered our food, and then left. I was having a panic attack, and my vision was blurry from the low sugar levels since I hadn’t eaten a bite all day.

But I didn’t write this tale to speak of our deeds. God placed us there an hour early. God showed us the solutions. God soothed my arms as they were shaking from trying to jack that car up. But I didn’t write this for that. I am writing for the hundreds that passed by. For those celebrating Easter without knowing what it even means or what even Jesus wanted them to do! He didn’t say get dressed up and go to church. Jesus said love your neighbor. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR!! How hard it that?

This whole situation reminds of a country song, What I didn’t do by Steve Wariner.

I didn’t cheat,
I didn’t lie,
So her leaving took me by surprise.
Just a note on the table,
Saying we’re through.
At first I went crazy,
So it took me sometime.
But I finally read between the lines.
It’s not what I did,
It’s what I didn’t do.

I didn’t tell her,
Each day I loved her.
I took it for granted,
Somehow she knew.
I didn’t hold her,
When she needed a shoulder.
It’s not what I did,
It’s what I didn’t do.

You don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. You don’t murder or steal. You don’t lust at material things. No you keep all the commandments, but it’s what you didn’t do that which God said meant most of all. You didn’t love his flock, your neighbors, and if you can’t love them then you can’t love God. John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

So here on Easter, when God has risen from the dead so that we might live, many walked right past him and denied him. That’s why I write this tale to warn of foolish deeds and missed opportunities. God lives among us – in each and every one of us. Love them, and you love God. Hug them, and you hug God. Change their tire, and you helped God get on his way.

I leave you with this… our Lord’s words. May God be with you as you read them.

Luke 10:25-37
English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: