I’m linking up this post with some fantastic women in FiveMinuteFriday. Because my heart is flowing – it will be more than five minutes…but I’ve dutifully noted where the stop would be. Love to you all….
A woman stepped up to the microphone and began to share about the Indian mission. Quite frankly, it was in between a few reports and I was barely half-listening. It had been a long day already. Then she began a story.
There’s just something about storytelling. Drawing us in.
She wanted us to know how much the Christmas store was blessing her people. How our women’s ministry really made a difference.
Every year close to Christmas they open a store and allow people to pick out presents for their family and grab a sack of groceries for a homemade meal. What makes this a little different from the many similar stores I’ve witnessed – is that here they ask that you pay….something. Anything. They’ve found it instills dignity. The people can go home and say to their family, “I bought this for us tonight.”
So an elderly man walks in one night and picks out a few things. He finds some food and heads to check out. He shares that he has taken in his grandchildren because they have no where else to go. Just him and three very young children over the holidays.
He asks the lady what he owes her. She says, “Oh, seventy-five cents should cover it.”
He says, “Oh no, I started saving in July for this.”
He reaches back to his pocket and pulls out an envelope. He hands it over and gathers his things. The woman watches him leave, and curiosity gets the better of her.
She opens the envelope to find two dollars and seventy-five cents.
He had been saving for five months.
This is the world we are living in.
The room got smaller. I got smaller.
I felt my eyebrows wrinkle and a tear ran down my cheek. I thought I might hunch over. My mind flashed back to the family I overhead at the park one day. The park we drive to…across town, to offer a hot meal to anyone who will come. And they do. They come in droves. This family – I heard them talking as they were walking past me. The dad announced he had gotten his hands on a hamburger. The daughter asked from where. The Mom immediately said, “Don’t you worry about that. Be thankful for what we have.”
The Mom was telling her daughter to be thankful – because they got to split a hamburger four ways. A single hamburger.
My mouth was dry and I tried to swallow.
Swallow down all that food I ate that week…and all the food I threw away.
I’ve been thinking all day about this point in my program. My 31-day prayer commitment. How today is about THY KINGDOM COME. All the books I’ve read and the Scripture study I’ve done on the word kingdom. How I should write and pray about bringing his kingdom down on earth.
And I’m just wondering if I really care enough to live (read die) for that cause. Because I’m still full on too much food and there are still too many in my town who are starving. And literally, right now, the Holy Spirit is burning my heart. Something is up here. Here is this kingdom talk and this reality of hunger. The full hands meeting the empty and making an offering.
Maybe all the cups of cold water really do bring his kingdom down on earth.
Maybe there is a reason he saved that story about the separating of the sheep until near the end. Because He knew of the world we would live in.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
“…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Mt. 25:34-36,40
I’m thinking it might really mean something that the scepter of His kingdom is justice. (Ps. 45:6)
I’m drawn back to my summer read of Take this Bread by Sara Miles. She found Christ in the act of communion itself. The Lord’s Supper, so common for many of us, carries a weight we often miss. People have been moved unto salvation just touching that bread to the mouth.
So she begins to serve it. Then she gets this crazy idea. You know, on the fringes. She invites everyone. Everyone. To the table. Just the table. Not church – not a program, not a membership, not a brochure about a new service. You just get bread and juice blessed to be the body and the blood of Christ.
The mentally ill came. Prostitutes. Loud, unruly people.
She said,” I understood why Christians imagined the kingdom of heaven as a feast…where the weakest and most broken, the worst sinners and outcasts were honored guests who welcomed one another and shared their food.
‘Let this broken bread and shared wine be a foretaste of your kingdom,’ we sang, ‘and bring us finally to your heavenly Table’ ”
I’m wondering how tidy we imagine His kingdom. How much we (I) want it to look like my little comfortable world. Does it make us uncomfortable to imagine certain people at the banquet table?
Who of my neighbors has not been invited to the feast? I mean my literal neighbors. Who in my children’s classroom?
Who has not had the body of our Lord touch their lips?
Who is hungry? And what am I going to do about it?
If we are going to pray “thy kingdom come” with integrity, I think we’ve got to ask these questions.
I care. I care what it really looks like to be a kingdom child.
Lord, you alone know how many days I have left. May they be used to feed your sheep. Interrupt my days with your kingdom call. And bring me home at last to dine with you forever.