The week began in court. The judge talked about a previous case similar to this one that ended in a suicide. “I don’t want a repeat here. You’re not getting out until you’re in someone else’s custody.”
The week ends with a prospect telling me, “I used to go to that church. And then I stopped. For reasons. But you… God used you. I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for you.” She’s halfway through membership classes.
The week began in despair. He was supposed to get out. But now, because of some other case, he had to wait two additional days before he got out. He panicked. His mom wept.
The week ends in a bed. He’s out now, yes, but he still has no home. Every night since he got out on Wednesday he’s been in a homeless shelter. I’ve dropped him off there almost every night. He’s spent days with me. The church has put him to work to get some money to him until he gets a job – and already he’s applied in many places while also attending his necessary classes. It’s not where he wants to be… its’ not where I’d like him, but he’s safe and warm.
The week began with my struggle to not be a savior. I wanted to rescue this young man. I wanted to provide for him. I wanted to take over Jesus’s job.
The week ends in a sermon. “Who are you? Are you Jesus? I don’t see anyone here with holes in their wrists. None of you died to save me from my sins. And yet… Your son has messed up. He’s squandered his money, all of it, in wild living. And he’s going to lose everything unless you do something. So much depends on you. …but wait. I thought it was Jesus’s job to save him, not yours. But for so many of us… that’s our identity. ‘I’m the one who does whatever it takes. I’m the one who takes care of him.’ I’m no Jesus. Neither are you. When that’s our identity… we fail. And if that’s who we are, the person who saves, but we can’t… then I’m nobody. I’m the sinner. But while I was yet the sinner, Christ Jesus died for me. It’s not up to me to save them. It’s not up to me to save me. Jesus already saved me. Job’s done. And since I’m no longer the one who saves, but a child of God, the one who was saved, now I can simply be a servant. I can point them to Jesus who already saved them. And as a servant, perhaps I can serve in that circumstance. But it’s not my job to save. That’s not who I am anymore. Now I am a child of God.”
The week began in desperation. Before court on Monday I scrambled to find him a home. I spent hours on the phone, researching, finding anything. My Bride and I agreed that if we found something cheap, we’d put up one month of rent to give him breathing room – and only one month. If he didn’t find money by then, he’d get no more from us. But nothing was found. Nothing. So the scramble was fruitless.
The week ends in a scramble. We’re putting together cookies for the shut-ins. It’s our yearly Cookie Day – after Bible study, whoever wants to sticks around for pizza, and then we bake cookies and sundry other treats, make cookie platters, and deliver them to our shut-ins while caroling. And that young man I labored for… he’s here. Baking really isn’t his thing, but he hangs out for a while. And the Christmas music blasts, and we sing and we bake and we laugh. There’s lots of flour dotting our noses and faces. It doesn’t matter. We’re serving. The scramble in the kitchen bears so much fruit.
The week begins in tears. I can’t do enough. I am so small. I am so broken.
The week ends in tears. The shut-ins are so grateful for so little we do: baking cookies and delivering them with a song.
The week begins in Jesus as he holds my shattered pieces and breathes his life into them. Not my life… his. As he takes my weakness and says, “Yes. You are broken, but that is fine. My strength is sufficient for you.”
The week ends in Jesus as he says, “You are my child. Not because you serve. You could never serve enough. You are my child because I love you. Be who you are.”
The week begins and ends where it should: only in Christ.
The week begins and ends with me being so small. With God loving me enough to send me encouragement in ways and places I’d never expect. To use me to serve… but not to save. Because that is his job. And he’s already finished the job. Why should I begin what he has already finished?
The week begins in a cry for help.
But the week ends in praise.