During the last week or so it has been my privilege to spend some time each day with an incredible young man. He is working with us at the church this summer as a Preaching Intern. The plan is for our intern to learn from us about preaching and ministry.
We have spent many hours discussing ministry. We have talked about a minister’s work, ways to help the church grow, and the worship of the church in during our time together. We have made numerous hospital visits as well as visits in a number of member’s homes. It is my task to teach this fine young man as much as possible this summer about preaching and ministry.
But today, he taught me a lesson about ministry I will never forget. We had been to a hospital, had lunch with a friend, and we were on our way back to the office. We stopped to run an errand at a drug store and own our way out there was a homeless man sitting outside the store.
My young protégé said, “We should get him a bottle of water.” He went in, bought the man a bottle of water, brought it out to him, and sat down beside him. He talked with the man for a few minutes, learned his “story,” and then said a prayer with him. He also spoke with this homeless man about the church.
I asked myself why I didn’t think to offer something to this man? Maybe I have become so accustomed to seeing homeless people on the streets of the metroplex that I don’t really notice them any more. Maybe I consider myself to busy to take the time to help others. I mean, I preach for a large growing church in a large growing urban area. Maybe I fear what could happen, or maybe I fear the unknown.
Just this past Sunday I preached about the need for Christians to live like Jesus, to act like Jesus, and to treat others the way Jesus treated those around Him. It’s easy to talk about our need to be like Jesus, it’s not always so easy to be like Jesus.
I’m thankful for my young friend reminding me of the importance of showing love to those around us. I am so impressed with this younger generation of Christians. There is something different about these followers of Christ. They have a genuine love and concern for those around them and they show that love by their actions. They don’t do this for the praise of men. My young friend would never tell you about what he did today, but I thought you should know.
As I watched him give a bottle of water and a prayer to a man he had never met, I remembered that our Savior said if we give a cup of cold water we will not lose it’s reward (Matthew 10:42). It’s just a bottle of water folks! But, what a powerful lesson I learned today. It is one that will stay with me a long time. I need to get going. I’ve got a lot to learn this summer from my intern!!
Dear Father, help us not to be so busy, so caught up in our own lives that we forget to notice those around us who are suffering. Thank you for reminders from young Christians about what it really means to be Jesus. Help us Lord, to be willing to step out of our comfort zones to reach out to others. Help us to think about how Jesus came to serve others. Father, forgive us for not serving others as we should. Help us to be better tomorrow than we have been today.