Love first. Talk later.
PHOTO: The Ujulala from Pixabay
I recently saw a Bible story lived out loud, and it was stunning!
Last week, before God changed my mind, I began my blog like this:
I’ve always been amused (is that the right word?) at Jesus’ question to the blind men in Matthew 20: 33: “What do you want me to do for you?”
In Mark Batterson’s book, Draw the Circle: he writes:
“Jesus was on his way out of Jericho when two blind men shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ The disciples saw it as an inconvenient interruption, but divine appointments usually come disguised.
The disciples would have walked right past this ‘miracle waiting to happen.’ They had places to go and things to do. But Jesus stopped. Then he asked the two men a loaded question: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’”
What kind of question is that for an all-knowing God to ask two blind men?
This week I saw this same question asked, not by Jesus, but by His children. And for an hour I watched the response to that question.
I’m visiting my son and family in Placerville, California. Their church, Green Valley, approaches the community in ways I’ve never seen. They start by asking people what they need.
In my experience most churches tell people what they need -- Jesus -- and then try convincing them. At Green Valley, they love first and talk later.
The word is out and people are calling. People are humbly, bravely, admitting their need: firewood, clothing, laundry services, help in grief. First they get a personal visit with a caring and skilled church member. Then they receive practical help.
This is some of what I witnessed on a Saturday morning at Green Valley:
A dozen people chopping wood from a giant pile of donated trees. People in need of warmth back up their cars and trucks – or if needed, the wood is delivered.
A food pantry with boxed meals generously handed out.
A mobile truck with two washers and dryers offering free service, because as one worker said, “It’s hard to feel dignity when you and your clothes are dirty.”
A gated Memory Garden beautifully landscaped with benches and plants to sit and remember a loved one.
Photo: Forget-me-nots by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay
This Garden is not the beginning but the final gentle touch for a person in grief. It began with a call to the church soon after a death. And the church member asks, as Jesus did, what they need. Because the memorial services include:
• Pastor to officiate
• Photo displays or video
• A reception with a full meal
• Invitation to small group encouragement through GriefShare, when appropriate
• ALL FREE OF CHARGE
Yes, every Friday at Green Valley a memorial service is provided for a family in need at the most vulnerable time in their lives.
At Green Valley “What do you need?” is followed with “We are here for you.”
After recently reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, I had the great privilege of witnessing love in action. And I sense the Lord’s nudge, asking me if I’m willing to ask others what they need and then seek to meet it. It’s a brave way to live ~ it’s a call to follow Jesus’ way of loving.
Pull up a chair and sit still
PHOTO: cottonbro from Pexels
Is the Lord nudging you to ask this question to someone in your life: “What do you want me to do for you?”