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Posts Tagged ‘a God thing’

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy
but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power,
revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day,
and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps,

but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr,
but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.

So, no matter what I say,
what I believe,
and what I do,
I’m bankrupt without love.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-4

In 1 John 4:7  we are told, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” Then, later in 1 Corinthians 13 we are told it is “is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (v. 4-7).

It would appear that if we are to love like God loves, we need to do so with the mind and actions of Christ in all that we do … otherwise, Christ, and all that He brings to the table is omitted.

Everywhere we go today we are faced with two words. They are ‘trendy’ words. They are ‘in’ words. But they are not always accompanied by the love of Christ. They are … social justice.

Social justice is an attempt within a society to address issues such as world poverty, clean water, sickness, human trafficking, homelessness, the environment, and oppression around the world. It is a valid, and valiant desire to fulfill the Golden Rule (“do for others what you would want done for you” aka Luke 6:31).

Our North American society is gaga over social justice. The phrase “first world problems” (complaints made by only those of us who live in the privileged 10-15% of the world) has replaced the phrase “out of the box thinking” of just a few years ago. The Occupy movement that littered many cities with everything from human refuse to biodegradable coffee cups, preached an end to the injustice of economic inequality.

Politicians pull out Social Justice issues to win over voters and elections. Teachers integrate into our curriculum teaching of the need to give and to do for those who are not as fortunate as those of us in the ‘first world’. Preachers preach of our need to love our neighbor … in another country, another continent.

“… but if we don’t have love …”

Back in December, I wrote in my post, A God Thing, about the apathy of my homeroom class in choosing one of the prescribed causes to support. The overwhelming response was, “I can easily donate _____ to one of the causes, but it really does not have any real meaning for me.”

I wonder if what these teenage students were really saying, “I can give, but I don’t have love … heck, I do not even know who I am giving to.”

I believe strongly in social justice, I donate to causes and organizations that are the hands and feet of my moula (as well as of Christ), but I have to admit that, like those teens in my homeroom, I have become so satiated with the message of social justice that it is losing any real meaning for me.

Social justice has become so trendy, so … loveless.

What if, rather than try to save those living on the streets of Tijuana, we help our neighbor who is struggling under financial burdens that might make that family homeless?

What if, rather than try to get kids out of prostitution in Thailand, we work towards building up the young girls in our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches, so that they are not tempted into

What if, rather than helping the sick, the lame, the disabled in a third world country, we got to know the senior citizen who lives alone, or the single mom whose son is Autistic, or the gentleman in the wheelchair who you see whenever you go to the swimming pool?

What if …fec41385b476074eb5cbf7fe81e454fd

we showed love …

to those most near to us?

Could there be a more ‘just’ action to do as a society?

Then maybe helping those under oppression, without basic needs, and without hope around the world would have more meaning to us?

if-we-cannot-love-the-person-whom-we-see

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Sometimes things happen, words are said, events enfold, and the lack of human intervention into how they enfold makes me thing that the events are fully and completely a God thing.

This happened last week.

I have the privilege of co-leading a homeroom at the high school I work with a teacher who is about as laid back as myself. We both want the group of students to feel that it is a place of freedom, of acceptance, of our genuine concern and interest in them. We do not meet that often for homeroom events, but both the teacher and I are intentional at catching up with the individual students when we see them in the hallways.

Recently we had a homeroom event scheduled and I was feeling insecure. The goal of the event was to consider three fundraisers that are happening in our school over the next number of weeks (through a number of videos and discussion), and to commit, as a homeroom group, to a specific fundraiser and goal. If I know one thing about myself, it is that I am NOT a salesperson! And the thought of failing miserably with these very valid, very worthy fundraisers put a true spirit of heaviness within me.

Thankfully, I do not lead this group alone!

The teacher spoke of having a passion for helping others, and of helping others out of that passion rather than just obligation, pressure or guilt (I was secretly ‘amening’ her message). Then the discussion, from the students, went a little downhill … although it was wonderfully honest and sincere. The overall comment was:

“I can easily donate _____ to one of the causes, but it really does not have any real meaning for me.”

So, then the teacher asked them, “what do you want to do to help someone else?”

The door to transparency was opened, and what followed, well, I believe was nothing less than a God thing.

It became apparent that the students were looking for something or someone to help that they could relate to, that they could more personally know to whom their gift, their money was going.

For whatever reason, I mentioned a local family (a single dad and two sons) who was being given Christmas gifts by the staff of a retailer I was taking a student to for Work Experience …

Instantly questions started firing:

“How old were the kids?’
I thought there were two boys, about thirteen and about ten.

“What did they like?”
I wasn’t sure, but said I could find out later that day.

“Did one of them skateboard?”

… this is where one of the students became passionate. Not a student who I would have expected to become passionate … one who spends more time with administration that with classroom teachers. His tongue was loosed … “I’ve got lots of skater t-shirts, and even new jeans that I don’t wear,” and on, and on he went.

The resulting conversation was that I would get the details for everyone, and see if we could piggyback on the retailer’s staff gifts. The students (and teacher and myself) agreed to bring in $5-10 each, and gifts for these kids would be bought. The students left the room … excited, passionate!

The teacher and I were pumped! And oh, how we hoped and prayed that one of the sons was into skateboarding!

Well, the store agreed to allow us to join in … and maybe even join in the delivery of the gifts.

I was wrong about the family …

It is a single father, but there are three kids:
a seven-year old boy (who loves baseball),
a nine year old girl (who loves things frilly),
and an eleven year old boy … who “loves skate shoes, skateboarder clothes, skateboarding …”

I believe it was all orchestrated by the hand of God …

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