Sunday, August 10, 2014
Remember the old schoolyard taunt, “You are ugly and your mother dresses you funny”?
Well, my mother does not dress me.
I dress myself. But I look funny because for the past eight or ten months I’ve had to dress in the dark because some doohickey in my bedroom ceiling light burned out.
All clothes, like all cats, look gray in the dark.
Ok, having to dress in the dark is not an emergency situation; but it is a nuisance. So, I’ve just picked whatever shirt hangs nearest the closet door. Things buried deep in dark recesses of my closet remain there on hangers till they may see the light of day.
This weekend Fred Estep, leader of the Helping Hands Ministry at Christ Church Jacksonville Anglican, came to my rescue. He came to my house, climbed a ladder, and fixed the doohickey in the ceiling. I now have light. That red shirt is actually brown (sort of).
I dressed quiet natty for church today. If I do say so myself.
Fred also repaired the control switch on my motorized reclining chair so I can actually get out of the thing now (picture a walrus on the beach)..
A few months ago, Fred, a professional building inspector, carpenter, and all-round handyman, saw two needs at Christ Church. One, he saw that many of us who are elderly, feeble and useless, need various home repairs which we can’t do ourselves or afford to have done. Two, he also saw that may of the young people in the congregation have various skills which they’d like to use to serve the Lord.
Fred brings the two needs together in a ministry called Helping Hands.
Recently his crew cut down a dead tree—one of the guys is a tree climber and skilled with a chain saw—overhanging the home of a wheelchair-bound lady. They built a deck for her and repaired a leaking roof. They’re helping another person with serious illness in the family put a new roof on his barn. They hung a mirror and installed a fuse box for other people, and also performed a bunch of such stuff around the church building.
They scrounge scrap building materials for their projects or pay out of their own pockets. Thus, we elderly get safety and quality of life repairs at our homes and the young skilled workmen and women get the lift of spirit from knowing they have truly helped someone in need.
They charge nothing for their labor.
And, they have built a great spirit of camaraderie within their group while working together on these projects.
Saturday, after Fred fixed my bedroom light—to him a minor chore, to me a major aggravation—we enjoyed breakfast together and I unloaded on him some problems I face which require heavy, life-changing decisions on my part. His advice and wise insights opened new aspects of the problem which I had not even considered.
My mind has been darker than my bedroom closet.
Fred enlightened me.
As we talked, I thought about manifesting the love of Christ through physical action. I remembered how the preacher recently likened faith and work to the two pedals on a bicycle—you can’t go far with only one.
Salvation comes through trusting Christ alone, that’s faith, a spiritual thing. But life comes through working as though there were no Spirit—a physical thing.
We are spiritual beings moving through a physical world. We exist in a world which is both seeable and unseeable at the same time.
For instance, if you watch me in church you may see that my head is bowed and my eyes closed—but you can not tell if I am worshiping the Lord, or napping.
Worship is unseeable—an invisible thing, a spiritual thing.
You can not tell if a person is worshiping—but you can see when a person has worshiped—that shows up in their actions, visible, physical things.
Can I fake the spiritual?
I’ve done it.
As the prophet said, “This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me”.
Can I fake the physical?
I’ve done that too.
As the prophet said, “Even the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel”.
But I knew I was faking. My wife knew. My children. Everyone knows whether or not I ring true.
For Heaven’s sake, John Wesley once said, “When a man is truly converted, even his dog knows it”!
And God knows. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Under the terrible scrutiny of the Almighty what I do for show is shown to be what it is.
Jesus said we are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth– God is looking for such double-barreled Christians
People who pray and do.
People who worship and work.
People who don’t dress in the dark.
Lord, make me such a man.