Friday, November 6, 2009

How Do You Say, "I Love You Jesus?"

I mentioned in my blog “What Makes Me Worth the Air I Breathe?” (September 17, 2009) that I had been moved by a little girl I saw on TV whose special circumstances and whose passion has led her to organize blood drives in her town and neighboring communities. Her determination to make people aware of how important donating blood is has yielded a great bounty as the TV show I was watching showed that blood drives where taking place in five different states across the country in her name and because of the national primetime exposure, she had her opportunity to reach the rest of the country that night with her message. It reached me. I’ve never given blood before and am not particularly fond of needles but I decided that the next time my church had a blood drive, I was going to sign up. Then last week, I learned that a young family member unexpectedly needs open-heart surgery next week and blood donors are needed now. So this week I called the blood bank in my community and made an appointment to go in and give blood for her operation. I was assured that if I am the right blood type, she will get my blood and if not, someone else who needs it will receive it. It really didn’t take long and I am glad to report that I suffered no adverse effects from it.

The next morning, the only evidence that I had given blood was a small pin prick on my arm and one on my finger where they tested my iron level. As the day went on, I found it ironic that while the spot where they took the blood from didn’t bother me at all, the fingertip they pricked to check my iron level hurt every time pressure was applied to it like when I typed (I’m a secretary) or checked my phone for messages and emails (which I do more often then I ever realized). At first it was a little annoying, but then I began to think of those little pain-filled moments as a reminder to rejoice and praise God. I rejoiced that God blessed me with the means to contribute and praised him that someone who desperately needs that blood will have it.

As I said earlier, I’ve never given blood before. It’s something that I always told myself that I should do, but never found the time or put the effort into doing. There are lots of things I’ve told myself that I should do and then don’t. Then I feel guilty that I haven’t so I try to make up for it with something else which I may or may not do. Guilt-ridden giving is a terrible cycle to be caught up in. So this week I went searching in my bible for another motivation to give. Here’s what I found:

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.”
Then those 'sheep' are going to say, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?” Then the King will say, “I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-36, The Message)

I thought about those things that Jesus said the blessed person does. They feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. Those are simple things to do really. I don’t need special skills to do those things or even a whole lot of time or money. I just need to pick up a few extra cans of soup, a jar of peanut butter or a bottle of grape juice the next time I’m grocery shopping and drop it off at my local food bank once a month. I don’t have an extra room, but even on my tight budget, I could pull together $20 to give to the local shelter. I have a closet full of clothes, many of which I don’t wear anymore for whatever reason that I can give to a local charity. There’s a hospital a few miles from my home or at the very least, I could send a get well card to those people who are listed on my church’s prayer chain. I don’t know anyone in prison, but there are prison ministries that make it possible to reach out to prisoners or perhaps I could pray for those saints overseas who are cruelly incarcerated for their faith in Jesus and if I look at this metaphorically, aren’t all those who are lost in sin in some kind of personal prison – locked away from the Truth and the hope that Jesus brings. So there are plenty of opportunities for me to reach out to those in prison. I realized that it’s not about what I should do to show the love of Jesus but what I can do to love Jesus.

What are the simple things we can all do to express our love for Jesus? Perhaps you could help an elderly neighbor take her garbage out to the curb every week or rake the leaves in her yard. Maybe even something as simple as picking up his paper at the end of the walk and taking it up the stairs to his front porch because stairs are difficult for him. Don’t know any elderly people? Show Jesus you love him by offering to baby sit the children of a single parent one evening a month so that they can have just a little time to themselves or help them get their kids to and from after-school activities. Volunteer a couple hours a month to serve food at your local shelter or spend a Saturday volunteering at the local organization in your area that helps build or fix low-income housing. If we all stopped thinking about what we should do and just do what we can – how wonderful would that be?

How do you say, “I love you Jesus”?

About the pictures:
Deer Lake Park (October 2009)

1 comment:

Green Grandma said...

And yet another wonderful reminder of what we're called to do. Thank you for including concrete ways we can all do our part to make this world just a bit softer for those battered by its harsh edges.

By the way, the photos are spectacular!