Our church toy drive was held yesterday. Over one thousand toys were given away, wrapped & tagged for the “shoppers” who came from the community. After service, our sanctuary was converted into a maze of shopping…
It was incredible to be a part of, to sit & hear the stories behind the faces of the shoppers. As I sat on the floor & wrapped, I learned about:
- the woman with three children on her second round of antibiotics & pneumonia. She was still struggling & was probably in need of a third round of meds
- the man from Brazil who only wanted a chance for his 5 yr. old daughter to go to school, to college & “be better than me” (as he put it)
- the man who was married to a woman that would not let their daughter celebrate ANYTHING – not Christmas, not her birthday. Now separated, with apprehension, he picked out a few things that he would give his daughter for the first time for Christmas
- the woman, with several sons, no husband & fighting cancer & had a heart that was filled to capacity with love for her boys
But the most amazing part of my day was when one of the men mentioned above asked me about my church, about my Jesus. He was touched that I sat on the floor & listened to his story. It wasn’t the gifts, it was that someone listened to him. Or maybe it was just that someone heard him. Not sure. There will never be words to explain the feeling that filled me as we walked downstairs & he got his free tickets for our Christmas Program this Saturday night (you can get information here ).
As I sat mulling over the day, the words of Christine Caine written in her book, “Undaunted”, came back to mind:
Jesus doesn’t do triage.
Instead, he promises to come after the one, because each one is precious to him. Each one.
(pages 135 & 136)
I think at times we can lose sight of that. We default to “triage mode” — trying to determine & help the ones that we think have the best chance of making a life for themselves. But to Jesus? Each one mattered.
I think what we need to do is perhaps define who the “lost” are & Christine Caine beautifully put it this way:
Some people are lost not because of something they willfully did, but because of a place they fell into, or because of circumstance. They are lost because of the words of an insensitive teacher, the neglect of an absent parent, the malice of an abuser. Maybe they’ve been abducted by a trafficker who sees them not as persons but as commodities to be bought & sold to the highest bidder. Maybe a corrupt ruler has mismanaged all of their country’s resources, leaving the innocent poor with no food, no water, no health care or education or basic human services. In any case, the lost are people who have lost their purpose, their potential, perhaps even their destiny.
“Jesus said to him, “For the Son of Man came to seek & to save what was lost. ” (Luke 19:10 NIV).
May we always remember: The lost are people.