I Am Willing

Going through the gospel books is something I have started in the last few months. I made it through Mark and have started on Luke. (I took a detour through 1 Corinthians, but that’s neither here nor there.) Today I read Luke 5:12-16 – the story about healing a leper.

I was always struck with Jesus’ gesture, that he would reach out and touch the man with such an infectious disease. I can only imagine what the people around Jesus must have thought. Would Jesus become a leper? Would all of them end up with a disease? It must have been a tense moment for those who were well.

But I think about the man who was touched – who may have not had much human contact in months or even years. Who knows when he had last seen his family, his friends. Despite this, he took a chance, had some faith and met Jesus. I’m sure Jesus could sense what this man needed, and it was more than a healing.

I hope we can all pray for those who go out into the world in order to bring healing to others. There is a serious situation over in Africa, and hundreds are volunteering to make the journey in order to help those in need.

But what about here at home? In our churches, there are adults and kids who may not receive affection at home. On our streets are people who need a meal and someone to talk to. In our homes, there may be children who need more time that’s not tied up in some scheduled activity or another.

These individuals are each saying what the leper said, “If you are willing, you can make me well.” The answer is up to you.

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Are your kids back in Jerusalem?

This may sound like an odd question, but it came up today. I was reading Luke 2:41-52, which tells a short story about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus taking a trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. On the way home, a day into the trip, Mary and Joseph realize that there is a disturbance in the force and Jesus is nowhere in their traveling party. Being good parents, they immediately panic and rush back to Jerusalem, scouring the city for three days, finally finding him in the Temple sitting calmly and learning with the Rabbis.

So why do I ask where your kids are? Well, it’s like this: life can get busy and you may develop goals for your family. Do you ever stop to check along the way to see if your family is following? You want the best for your family and children, that’s natural. But in striving so hard to provide the best [insert experience, object, or training here] are you moving forward as a family, or are your kids back in Jerusalem?

Discipleship is challenging, especially discipleship at home. It means as parents, you are “on” 24/7 leading your children by example. (And even when you think you aren’t, every choice you make is forming how your child thinks and will behave.) Be encouraged, though, Jesus had twelve grown men to disciple, and they didn’t even get it until way later.

Discipleship is real-life follow the leader. But the really encouraging part? You’re not the leader – Jesus is. So if you’re following Him, so are your kids, because they’re following you.

Ask yourself one simple question: “Where am I leading my kids?” In some of the other blog posts I’ve shared on my Facebook page, the question is phrased, “Where do I want my kid to be in five years?”

Why I do laundry and enjoy it.

I know, it sounds like a strange statement for anyone to say. You’re probably thinking, “Laundry? What? How could you possibly enjoy that chore at all. It’s a bore, a tedium, a terrible date of every week that drains precious time!”

I like laundry for the same reasons I enjoy to cook and am learning to enjoy washing dishes. (At my house, loading the dishwasher means I get to eat something.) As a minister, my job is fairly open-ended. Love people and help them grow closer to Jesus Christ. Sure, I have my own ideas about what that looks like, but going in, it’s a touch daunting. Not only that, because I work with children, whom I love dearly, I may not get to see the results of my efforts for years. And because I work with volunteers, I may not get to see the change in their lives for years, either. Basically, I get to leave my job every day going, “Well, God, I did what I could. Hope it worked.” And I have to let Him handle the rest.

I imagine this is similar to how parents feel at the end of the day. The kids have been fed, homework has been finished, and they’ve been tucked in, and as the door to that child’s room closes, “Well, God, I did what I could. Hope it worked.” And you know He’ll handle the rest.

These menial tasks let me have the satisfaction of something done. I can see the stack of neatly folded clothes and think, “I know that’s done.” I can taste the result of a few hours preparing a homemade stew and think, “I know that’s done.” But as for my vocation, what God has called me to do, I have to wait for the very end, when I see Jesus face to face to think, “I know that’s done.”

As parents, I hope you know that I can see the little things you do in your children’s lives. I see the love, affection, sleepless nights, crazy weekends, and hectic schedules. I see that your children are growing closer to Jesus. Some take longer than others, and those tend to grasp it the best. God has blessed me in that I get to go home after every event or weekend service and think, “These are fantastic kids. God, take care of them.” Regardless of what else happens, I know I’ll be able to say that.

Keep it up, parents. Play for keeps. Be present with your kids. Even if you may not see it, I can, and you are making an impact on your families.