Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sick and Well People

"It is not the well who need a physician, but the sick." These are words from the mouth of Jesus. It really doesn't make sense for a Doctor to invite healthy people to come and see him. Now of course we send our babies for 'wellness' check ups and many of us go the Doctor for an annual or bi-annual exams, but Doctors would go out of business if they only took well patients. It doesn't make sense for a Doctor to witness a person falling to the ground and grabbing her chest and just walk on by without giving assistance...in fact, it goes against the very Hippocratic oath that the Doctor swore to. It also doesn't make sense for Christians to run away from ugly, sick, sinning, wicked people. It just doesn't make sense to me. For decades, the church has attempted to run from the sinful parts of our cities, to 'refer out' the harder counseling cases and to send money to the rescue missions for the poor and homeless instead of actually going their themselves and serving and offering care. What does make sense is that when we engage the sick, weak, worrisome, tattered, broken folks that live near us, that it will get hard. It seems true that some will refuse 'treatment' or that others will not 'respond' well to the therapies (read Jesus) offered. Many who engage the sick will offer sound advice and counsel only to have their hands bitten or their faces spit upon. But we must engage the spiritually sick folks of this world. Sometimes, it takes longer to gain access into a relationship with sick people, but we must keep trying. Helping sick people hurts. Just look at Jesus and how He loved His disciples so much for three and a half years, only to have them abandon Him once He was arrested - and He was innocent! Just look at Paul where at the end of his life, he states, "all have deserted me" (2 Tim. 4). Yeah, helping the sick is a hard, painful and way too often it is a slow work as well. But it is a worthy work. It is the work Jesus has called you to if you are one of his disciples. Where would Jesus be ministering today in your town if He were walking there? I think He might go to the people who have bombed out looks in their faces, who are desperate for something more than they have found in this life, for the sick, weak and broken people...who are usually lonely. My neighbor, Lee, has brain cancer. He is not going to live much longer without a Divine intervention (please pray for his healing). I went to see Lee yesterday. It had been about three weeks since I last saw him. He only lives 2 doors away. I have all the excuses as to why I haven't been over to see him - they are all excuses for the sin of not caring or at least of being scared. It is hard to love sick people. I had to confess to Lee that I had not been over to see him, in part, because I had thought in my head that he had taken a turn for the worse and I didn't want to see him suffering or unable to walk or talk to be drooling. I confessed my selfish sin to him and asked for His forgiveness - which he granted. I shared the truth about life, death and eternal life with him. He was grateful and offered me a glass of wine. I told him that if he would like me to, that I would come over tomorrow for another glass of wine and chat. I also asked if we could share communion together. He is looking forward to it. May the Lord infuse Lee's life continued grace, peace, healing and spiritual vitality. "It is not the well who need a physician, but the sick."

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Can Learn A Lot From Codi

My wife woke me up at 3:50am. My alarm didn't go off and I needed to take some friends to the airport for an early morning flight. "Early" may be relative to some, but 4:00AM is always too early for me. So, I threw on some clothes, popped an allergy med, blew my nose and took off to pick up my friends. As I pulled into their drive way, the clock in my car read 4:04am - four minutes late. The garage door was open, the lights were on and Lisa's two boys waiting to get on the road. Funny how a 16 & 12 year old can be so energetic at 4:04am when vacation is happening :-) After we loaded up the luggage, we pulled away from their home and headed to the airport. There were scattered conversations that took about 20 seconds each as we drove through the dark. Not too much to talk about that early in the morning. Arie's iPod was blaring and Codi was a bundle of joy as he often is. As we sped down the freeway, Lisa told me that Codi wanted to feed the homeless in downtown Phoenix. Codi talked about it some and said he wanted to see that happen. My heart was filled with joy to hear a 12 year old speak such truth. I was reminded of Ezekiel 16:49
"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless east, but she did not help the poor and needy."
My life is a lot like this verse - and easy life and not too concerned about the poor and needy. Codi was used by the Lord to ponder that action needs to happen towards the poor and needy. Codi and his family get back in town next Sunday and I plann on talking to Codi to see if he'll help in organizing a time to serve the poor...maybe he can go the rescue mission with me and my friend Neil. As we pulled up to the airport, Codi was telling me about his latest ping pong experience at school. He said that he had volunteered to be a mentor for the handicapped students in his school and that he had enjoyed inviting some of the handicapped students to play ping pong with him. I can learn a lot from Codi!