Devotions today is about people in our lives that we care about, and that care about us. Our friends for example. I’ll give the example of a friend I had to “save” one time. As seniors in HS we were in the process of doing something we had been asked not to do. A bunch of us were “toilet papering” the courtyard of our school during the last night of seniors week. To us, we were just following a senior tradition. But like many things in life, things didn’t go as planned. To make a long story short, the police showed up and sent us scrambling. We scattered and ran like the wind. One of my friends and I headed towards a chain link fence on the backside of the property. Like nothing, I was over and across the street, safely behind some evergreens. But where was my friend? That’s when I heard him calling out, Help! Help! I peaked out, and to my surprise, he was hanging upside down from the fence. Trapped. Oh no….what do I do now? Well of course I had to go save him. And yes, that really happened.
In Mark 2:1-12 we read the familiar story of four men lowering a paralytic man through a hole they had made in a roof. What’s neat about this story, is that these men were most likely all friends. Or at least I like to think of them that way. This would include the man being lowered down. So imagine the scene, a large group of people gathered to hear Jesus preach. The house is packed. And then these guys decide that they can’t even wait for Jesus to come out. Instead they began tearing open the roof from the outside. They were determined to get their friend in front of Jesus, to be healed as soon as possible. And of course it happened. This is something friends would do.
As we live the life God has given us, may we always be aware of the people God has put in our lives. Those people who care for us….no matter what. Those people who will lift us up when life is too heavy. Those people who will do whatever it takes, like tearing a hole in a roof, to help us out. To help us out of whatever paralyses us. Even those people who save us when we’re hanging upside down on a fence. Of course we need the power and strength of our Lord…and He freely gives it. But we also need each other. Especially as the Christian world is under attack like never before. Thank you Lord for friends. And may each of us be that kind of friend.
Recently the Sioux Falls 41st Street Pizza Ranch participated in the Saint Baldrick’s Foundation Head Shaving Event held to raise money for cancer research aimed at finding a cure for kids with cancer. In addition to hosting and promoting the event, they also had a manager and several of their crew raise money and shave their heads for this wonderful charity. Below are a few links about this story and about the Saint Baldrick’s Foundation:
Great job Sioux Falls 41st Team!!!!
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Such a simple statement, but a powerful action. This week be challenged to just “be friendly” to all that you interact with. Especially those who you don’t know.
You never know, your simple act of kindness could make a big difference in someone’s life.
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about the outcasts of our world. Some real, some perceived. I’m sure each of us can think of some examples. How about those locked away in prisons? How about those in old people homes? How about those with special needs…like the children’s home that some of us saw in Jamaica? What about some people groups…like those that are different than us? Even those that are a different color? Maybe some folks that have particular diseases? Could any, or all of us be considered outcasts? Could I be seen as an outcast?
Mark 1: 40-42 talks about a man who was definitely seen as an outcast, and how Jesus dealt with him: “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.”
A leper was someone who had a gruesome disease in which there was no cure. It destroyed the nerve cells and gradually led to the rotting of the flesh, and the unbearable odor that came along with it. It literally repulsed people. In Bible times this person would have been an outcast for sure. This person would have been considered unclean. To touch this person would have meant you were unclean too.
This man knew that if Jesus was willing, that He would make him clean. And so it happened. Jesus looked at him with compassion, reached out and touched him, and was willing to make him clean. Immediately.
The same can be true today for us…and the examples listed above. We see outcasts everywhere. They’re all around us. Folks who feel like they don’t matter. The feel like they could never be accepted. Those who have gone so far in their sins that they wonder if God would even be willing to save them. These people are rotting away…heading towards a slow death. Almost like they have leprosy. There are some of us who feel that way. Maybe all of us do at some time or another. Maybe you feel that way right now.
Remember this: Just like with the leper, if we come to Him in faith, Jesus looks at us with compassion. He reaches out, declaring willingly, that we are clean. Immediately. Oh, that we could have that kind of grace.
Here’s a recent comment we got from a guest in Ottumwa, IA:
“I had had a bad day. I came through the drive-thru crying to pick up some pizza for my family. The gentleman at the window saw me crying and apologized and gave me a flower. Which, obviously, made me cry more but I needed something like that today. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that. That small gesture is probably the only thing that started to make me feel a little better. I just want you to know that I’m a regular customer and also a kitchen manager at another place in town. This level of customer service should be awarded. You guys have always been outstanding. I can’t thank you enough for that small token. Just please know it was very much appreciated. If you have some sort of award for this, give it to that man.”
In Matthew 25:14-26 Jesus tells a short story or parable. The story is about a master and three servants. Each servant is entrusted with a certain amount of gold. The first servant was given five bags of gold and he invested it with a return of five additional bags of gold. The second servant received two bags and invested them with a return of two additional bags of gold. The last servant received one bag and hid it. When the master returned he questioned each servant in regards to the gold that they had been given. The two who had invested their gold were praised and the one who hid it was considered wicked and lazy.
Each of us have been given talents, abilities and resources from the Lord. The Lord wants us to use these abilities for his service. Colossians 3:23 reminds us that whatever our abilities are, we should work at them with all of our heart – as if we were working for the Lord. How are you using your talents and abilities? Most importantly what is your attitude like? Are you working as if you are serving the Lord?
Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.