My normal Sunday morning routine, especially on mornings when I am preaching the message, is pretty predictable. I roll out of bed around 6:30 or so, start the coffee, hop in the shower, get dressed, and head out the door. Being that we live so close, I am typically to church by 7:00 or a little after. This routine gives me lots of time to pray for the service, for everyone who will be attending or watching online, and to put the final touches on the message. This is an enjoyable time for me, and I really look forward to it each week.
Recently, as I made my way across the parking lot, into the building, and on into my office, I started to chuckle. Literally out loud. What a stark contrast to my church days as a kid. I can remember my drill sergeant, I mean my mom, all but ripping us out of bed each Sunday morning. “But I don’t want to go!” I would protest. “Well, I didn’t say you had to like it, I just said you had to go!” she’d reply. It was simply not an option, not to go. Looking back now I like to say that, as kids, her and dad gave my brother, sister, and I a drug problem; as in, they drug us to church every Sunday. Mom, again, sorry for being such a stinker.
As I sat down at my laptop that morning, my chuckles turned to prayer. Thank you, Jesus, that you never gave up on me! You continued to pursue me even when I was running, or more accurately, sprinting in the wrong direction. For whatever reason, the words to a familiar poem came to mind; “During your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” Footprints in the Sand has given many inspiration and comfort over the years, and although it’s merely an allegory about Jesus rather than a real-life account, I strongly believe that there is much truth buried in its words. I wonder too though if, similarly to my Sunday morning routine as a kid, there aren’t a few “draglines” in the sand as well. You know, the times that we begrudgingly and dutifully do the right thing outwardly, but with a defiant and horrible attitude on the inside.
For me, I think I’ll see several sets of footprints in addition to my draglines: some in front, some at my side and some behind. Arm in arm. Side by side. Push. Pull. Carry. Whatever it takes to get me to the finish line. I’m pretty sure your prints and draglines might look similar to mine. Scripture calls us to be the Body Of Christ, literally His hands and feet. As I look around at this chaotic and broken world, I see lots of people who could use some Jesus; actually, LOTS of Jesus! His touch. His comfort. His guidance. And so much more. That’s where we as followers of Christ come in. We have been called and equipped to carry each other’s burdens. (Gal 6:2) What a great responsibility, but oh what a wonderful privilege! I encourage each of you to look around and see who could use some of the Jesus that’s in you. You’ll soon discover that putting others ahead of yourself and being a blessing to them will be the best blessing you could ever ask for. AMEN! (Let it be!)
~ Pastor Mitch