As we approach yet another year of the FREE Community SHARE our little family puts on each year (a time when people donate items they no longer want and we set up the local community center as a store where people can come and get all they want for FREE) I am overwhelmed with the amount of people helping. This morning, I was thinking of a story I wrote two years ago. It was our second year of doing the SHARE and I wanted to quit.
I hope this story of my failures helps encourage you to be strong and do something God has laid on your heart!
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
I almost didn’t do it.
I walked into the house and said, “I’m quitting it all.”
Ever felt that way?
Just because you have a calling on your heart, doesn’t make it easy.
Actually, it’s easier to give up– or better yet, not even start.
Did you know, I’m a quitter? Did you know, I’m a mess? Did you know, sometimes I get tired and want to give up? Did you know sometimes, I yell, cuss, and wish for a quick shot of something hard (that being hard liquor for those of you with virgin vocabulary ; )
If you think less of me now– you thought too much of me to begin with.
I am so broken.
Crying hard, I yelled– “Why do I have to start everything!? Why can’t I just be a part of something?”
Little did I know, I was apart of something bigger than me. Did you know, if you knew who I am apart from Him– you would turn and walk away. I wonder what she did.
What did she do? What did she say? There, looking Grace in the eyes– How did she react?
“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.
They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Did she sit and anxiously await the following Sunday when she could go to church and share what happened to her? How about starting each morning with devotion? Did she sit in her comfy, cozy house by the fire and meditate on His goodness with christian music playing in the background? Perhaps she even gave a shout out on Facebook of how big and good her God was.
Or wait! Her eyes were open to grace, open to what she had been forgiven of– she was now “better than that.” Better than that person she once was. Did she forget? Did she forget where she came from? Did she forget what it felt like?
Did she forget the Grace in His eyes and how they looked on her with compassion, love, and mercy– regardless of what she had done? Did she know she didn’t deserve it?
Don’t get me wrong, Christian music is good, and I love me some cozy meditation beside the fire. And of course, we all know–quiet bible time before my day is full of loud, is the best start to the day. But what good are those devotions, those songs, that grace– if my hands are not getting dirty.
What good are those scriptures; God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, and training in righteousness, if I’m sitting on the sofa reading my Bible–maybe even baking cookies for a church bake sale– but I have not loved with my hands, with my feet, with my story.
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves.For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25
So, I quit. I threw my fit. Cried real hard. Felt overwhelmed. Got back up. And started to plan the SHARE– where people could come and get whatever they needed or wanted. All for free.
I asked some people to help. For some, it was their first time to feel the dirt. Some felt uncomfortable; some felt stretched. For that day, we lived the scriptures– we dug through bags of peoples junk making it treasures for someone else.
We even had christian music playing in the background.
It’s not about me. It’s not about what I have done. I have done so little. In fact, more bad than good. No, friends. It’s about the opportunity to be a part of the big story– The God Story.
It’s about Grace.
It’s about the unexplainable, always perfect, always covering, always good, love of our sweet Jesus. It’s about knowing, you are never too far from Grace. Did you hear that? You are never too far from Grace. Your storm is never too big, your attitude is never to rotten, your pain is never to deep. Your past is never too ugly, your choices never define you. That love that covers the dirt, the wounds, the imperfections– yup, it’s always there.
Oh, friends I can only hope! When we have discovered this gift, this grace, this LOVE… it would cause us to be crazy! It would get us off the sofa and into the dirt, not only reading but living the scriptures. It would make us tired and even a little crazy. Oh, that It would keep us bent low to the ground, healing through helping.