Ed Delph brings another thought-provoker…
A mother was preparing breakfast for her sons, Kevin, age 5 and Ryan, age 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw an opportunity for a moral lesson. ‘If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, “Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.”’
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, ‘Ryan, you be Jesus!’
That was our home about twenty years ago!
There’s a lesson in this story. Part of church ministry is outwards to the community and others. Christians and churches have three primary ministries:
• Upward to God
• Inward to each other
• Outward to the community.
Healthy upward and inward ministry is for the purpose of healthy outward ministry to the community. We come into the presence of God so we can go out with the presence of God.
As a pastor for many years, I’ve found that churches generally are very good at the upward and inward but struggle with the outward aspects of church life….especially when it comes to their own communities.
When it comes to my community, many people say, ‘Ryan, you be Jesus!’
Story of a trapped whale
There was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle recently about a female humpback whale that had been entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She had hundreds of pounds to traps and yards and yards of lines wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and even a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her east of the Farralon Islands, just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. He radioed for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.
Talk about dangerous. One slap of a whale’s tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers said she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver and nudged them as if to thank them. The divers were stunned. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eye was following him the whole time and he will never be the same.
What about trapped people?
I’m so glad someone was Jesus to that whale. Now, wouldn’t it be just as good if not better, if someone was Jesus to people who are caught in heavy traps and long lines of calamity, even if by their own doing?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone would be Jesus to that lonely person in the nursing home who never gets any visitors?
Wouldn’t it better than complaining about long lines or trying to judge every one of their political correctness, or the lack thereof, to go outside of your comfort zone and volunteer for a worthy cause in your community?
You don’t get to experience what those whale freeing divers did by just sending a cheque. When you give a cheque, something is withdrawn from your bank account.
When you get involved, something is deposited in you. Don’t say, ‘Ryan, you be Jesus!’ Get involved!
Who knows, you just may untangle some person or family from the traps and lines that entangle them.
Dr Ed Delph is president of NATIONStrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Link: NATIONStrategy.com