Sometimes it feels like to live is to hurt.
One cold December morning, there’s an ambulance at the neighbor’s house, and then the coroner’s van. All of this just a week before Christmas, and it wasn’t just someone in the world who overdosed on drugs, it was my neighbor.
They had just moved in a couple houses up the street. We hadn’t met yet.
Overdose happens all the time. They’re calling it a heroin epidemic.
His fourteen-year-old son woke up to the alarm beeping and he ran to find his Dad, because they would be late.
He ended up calling 911.
The ambulance came and then the coroner, and that cold December morning, that motherless boy’s world fell apart.
Sometimes it feels like living is hurting.
You can shelter yourself from the hurt pretty good, if you want too. Live safe. Happily exist.
Let me ask you something. When do you start caring about something? When it personally affects you?
I get it. Me too.
But what if we chose to break that pattern?
What if we decided to reach out to our neighbors before tragedy strikes?
What if we decided to make the opportunity perfect, instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity?
What if we made up our minds to stop seeing the rise in drug abuse as somebody else problem?
What if the killing of innocent children broke our hearts every time we looked at our child?
What if we let it make us uncomfortable that 20-30 million slaves existed in the world today?
What if we decided to forfeit getting supper out for one night, to sponsor a poor, underprivileged child for a month? (It’s roughly about the same price.)
What if we let it bother us that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before age eighteen?
What if we started seeing faces for every statistic that is spouted off?
What if we chose to care?
Because you know it’s a choice.
I started running this year. I woke up on Mother’s Day 2016 and I told my husband that I had ten weeks to go from not-running-at-all to running a 5K, and nothing was going to stop me.
Because doggone it, I knew what it was like to do life in the NICU and I had been blessed significantly through the ministry of Gradys Decision.
I was personally affected, so I started to care.
And that makes sense, right? Awareness grows significantly through personal experience. That’s a part of life and it’s okay to an extent.
But I’m just going to tell it to you straight.
It’s also a really selfish way to live.
It took my entire world getting ripped out from under my feet, to see how sheltered of a life I had chosen to live.
Get this part.
I chose the things I cared about, from how things personally affected me.
Let this overwhelm you. It needs too.
You can keep on living your safe little life taking care of your world and be lost, or?
Stop putting your time in – at the soup kitchen, at the pregnancy center, at the youth outreach, at your local church, you fill in the blank. Put your life in – all in – for Jesus – right where you are.
To love your neighbor as yourself is not figurative.
And remember – Jesus saves.
I’ve heard people talk about how there’s just no way we can effectively care about all the needs of the world and how coming to understand this has been so empowering.
What if we laid aside our rational effectiveness and put our life all- in, wherever we are, whatever it takes – and were empowered to care for all the people and all the issues of the world, in all the ways that we are called in our today, knowing the reality that it’s JESUS who saves.
So today, from my little house on the hill, I can sign a petition for refugees and pray for the humans being trafficked and give baby clothes to the pregnancy center and bake a pie for my neighbor and I can most importantly ask God to prepare my heart to say an unequivocal YES to love.
What if 2017 was the year?
The year to care – about all the issues in the world.
The year to let our schedules be interrupted by others.
The year for our hearts to be broken by the ugliness of our own sin.
The year to be present with the poor, compassionate for the addict, concerned for justice, and consumed with love.
The year to BE the gift to everyone we meet.
Let’s do this. #whatif2017
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