I asked Dad what he is speaking on tomorrow as he is still able to communicate well in front of groups. I guess it was my way of seeing how prepared he was and because he has lost a bit of zip over the years. Losing mom, having a heart attack and fighting cancer over the last couple of years has given him a longing for eternity while still wanting to make a difference here and now. Life is very very tough at this stage.
His answer: “I will be speaking on three questions so many people need to ask themselves every day.
#1) Are you prayed up? (for anything, and I mean anything! that comes our way today)
#2) Are you fed up? (yes it’s a double meaning on spiritual food and on the condition of our culture).
My neighbor shot a framing nail through his hand (between the knuckles) on his DIY project a couple of days ago. He obviously cannot do much for awhile. What would you do?
I have more than some experience in building projects. What would you say I should do?
Answers I have weeded out so far: 1) I’ll pray for you. 2) “What a bummer man” (yes we are products of the 70’s era). 3) Were you drinking again? 4) Well. I’ll put you on the church prayer chain (I might without his knowledge).
This is real life. I have an ongoing daily walk with God but my neighbor admits he personally does not like “religious people” for a long list of (sad and real) reasons. He likes us as neighbors and hopes our house does not sell so we stay put. So, how far does one go for his neighbor?
One of my favorite quotes; “The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live — this lost world — means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.”
― Francis A. Schaeffer
Consider this; I do not even consider “religious reasons” to be a factor in how I treat people. Let’s face it, we are who we are and the core of our being is tested by those around us every day. Who are we and who are we becoming? Does what we say, do and post on facebook draw people into becoming more like Jesus? most everyone except for the religious flock liked Jesus.
If Christ lives in us, His unstoppable unimaginably infinite love will go to great lengths to shove our plans aside to help our neighbor in need.
So, guess what I am doing besides helping? Ya, I have asked a couple of guys (who are on their church prayer chain) to lend a hand. I am scouring the neighborhood for some more equipment (a monster fork lift as my back won’t take carrying the shingles up this long of a ladder). And…We are having some great conversations. I would like to think this is in part who Christ wants me to be.
(Matthew 5:40-42) 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Now, The story behind the story
One of my last morning times in the word was from John 21:15-17 Jesus points to the pile of fish on the shore and said to Peter “Do you love me more than these? Hey, I love fishing and move my schedule and priorities around to be fishing, so this is how God set me up. This is an example of how he communicates through His word. In my devotions and prayer time last week I had already said yes to my neighbor. My neighbor didn’t ask, God did before it happened. This is the real deal and I will get some more wood slivers, find muscles I didn’t know were there and catch less fish. What an adventure following Jesus. I told my neighbor three hands were better than one after asking how his gimpy one was doing.
I can’t wait to hear all your real life stories in the re-telling around the campfire in eternity. Not that we have done anything great but what God has done in and through us. I want you and my neighbor to be there! I am really praying for him, hammer in hand and fishing rod in the garage.