Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A willingness to get involved...

I’ve often wondered why God has wired me the way He has and believe it or not, I’m actually kind of a shy person.  I take after my mom more on that naturally than my outgoing father who’s never met a stranger. Some of my actions comes from my training and background in law enforcement, but I believe God draws me to intervene and get involved in stuff that quite frankly the average person would think is none of my business. You see police officers, firefighters, emergency service workers like EMT’s, doctors and nurses are trained to get involved and respond when everyone else is just standing around. While that “get involved” mindset was enhanced with my police training, God has wanted that from me long before McAllen PD got their hands on me. As a college freshman, I was driving home from Liberty on the weekend and saw black smoke off in the distance. The cloud got larger and more intense as I kept driving and I’ll never forget rounding the curve and seeing a small truck next to a house that was engulfed in flames. The engine was on fire and the front tires had already begun to burn. I slung gravel as I sped up the driveway and ran to bang on the door to get someone’s attention. A man met me and I hollered his truck was on fire. He shared a few expletives at my news but I didn’t stand there waiting. I ran looking for a hose and only found two 5 gallon buckets and I became a one man bucket brigade. I’m not sure how, but I single handedly put out that fire with those two buckets while the man, his friend and his family stood watching. They never got involved to help even though it was their home that was in great jeopardy if that truck were to explode. Their fear paralyzed them from action and all they did the whole time was holler at me “you gonna get yourself blowed up boy…” I was thinking, “not if you’d get your rear in gear and help me!”

I share that story because in the last several days and weeks, God has given me the opportunity to get involved in people’s lives. A couple headed for divorce court, a young man at the end of his rope with no hope, a family experiencing the tragic death of a son, a woman trying to put the pieces of her life back together and looking for encouragement in the Lord. Honestly, fear of what might happen could paralyze this normally shy preacher, but by the grace of God, I got involved and the Lord is working in each of those situations. It had nothing to do with me, but is the grace of God and I’ve been merely a tool, an instrument in my Redeemer’s hands, a conduit of the grace of God. You might say – “good for you preacher, that’s your job” and then in your heart you’re thinking “boy I’m glad I don’t have to do any of that!” I hate to break it to you, but if God has saved you, He’s called you to get involved in people’s lives. The New Testament demonstrates that Jesus got involved in people’s lives, ordinary people going about their business, and Jesus got involved. Then he taught those He invested in to do the same with others. I love the passage in John 4:4 that says “But He (Jesus) needed to go through Samaria.” On the surface, that innocent little statement doesn’t mean much except that Jesus was a Jew and the Samaritans were half-breed Jews and the two groups hated each other more than feuding Hatfield’s & McCoy’s. No Jew went through Samaria even though it was the most direct route from Jerusalem in the south up to Galilee in the north. The Jews would go miles out of their way to avoid going through Samaria but Jesus needed to go there according to the Apostle John. Once you read the whole story, you learn why Jesus needed to go there. It was because He needed to meet a certain woman at the well and introduce Himself as the Messiah, the source of living water. Her life was gloriously transformed because Jesus got involved and went out of His way in order to do it. She in turn got her whole town worked up to come meet this Jesus – she got involved with others too!

The Apostle Peter, got involved in people’s lives. Paul, same thing – the Philippian jailer was about to commit suicide, the very man who beat Paul & Silas unjustly and put their feet in stocks, and Paul intervened by calling out to him before he fell on his sword. That jailer was gloriously saved and baptized that night as well as his entire family. The point is, God wants us to engage people. Two members here at Calvary told me stories  this week of how they were involving themselves in the lives of others. There are many other stories like that yet to be told as we live in a world of hurting people. Each Bible Study class should be investing in a family with our “boxes of love” efforts. We saw some of the fruit of that last week when 5 people were baptized & 3 members of one family were baptized who are a direct result of our church family getting involved in their lives. For those at Calvary who are intentionally getting involved in the lives of others, I want you to know how proud I am of you for being like Christ; taking “church” outside the walls of the building. I know “the people business” can be dirty, nasty work at times because of the sin in peoples’ lives, but when we involve ourselves and invest in others, God uses that to draw people to Him. Keep at it, keep investing and get involved in someone’s life, let God use you to be a conduit of God’s grace to that person who desperately needs for you to come their way. A couple of thousand years ago, Jesus needed to go through Samaria on a particular day, I wonder who God wants you to encounter today, tomorrow or next week? As you are passing through on the journey of life, your primary calling as a Christian is to share the good news and be a conduit of grace to others. As you do that, you honor your Savior who did that exact thing with you. Worship should not be something we do once a week on Sunday. Worship is walking with Jesus daily in obedience & as we go, dispensing grace to others.  I can tell you Satan doesn’t want you to get involved – he’ll be hollering at you the whole time “you gonna get yourself blowed up” – don’t listen to him. Obey your Lord and reach out to the people that God puts in your path and watch God literally perform miracles before your eyes. I’m looking forward to hearing your story of how you got involved in someone’s life for Jesus, how God used you to be a conduit of grace, from my little corner of the world to yours…

Ralph Green

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

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