The Dynamic Duo

Sometimes the desires of our hearts are not met in the ways we dream or imagine.

For the following two, this could be an accurate assessment.

Both had a special love for little ones, yet, traditional motherhood eluded them.

But, this did not define them, it seemed to redefine them.

Actually, I think it propelled them toward a special calling to minister above and beyond the household, to the multitude.

Isn’t it just like God to give us immeasurably more than our hearts can ever ask or imagine?

They are like superheroes to the little ones, who gaze longingly into their deep, compassionate eyes, and run quickly to embrace the warmth of their hugs.

Perhaps a better description would be that of royalty, since one deems purple as her color of choice, and the other is depicted by loved ones as, “Queen.”

Even so, this lead role in children’s ministry does not go to either of their heads–but, more to their hearts.  And, out of the overflow of their hearts, they give the royal treatment to the least of these, as they pour their livelihood into the lives of the next generation.

Ones who are well behaved…  

Ones who behave badly…  

Ones who are blessed with loved ones…  

Ones who are without a loving parent…  

Ones who come from affluent homes… 

Ones who need financial assistance… 

Etc…

It does not affect the love they minister in the least, to the least of these.

So, this shoutout is to you, Miss Selma and Miss Brenda!

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25:34-40 NIV)

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You Think I’ve Got Potential?

She was edgy and somewhat dangerous; one of those sketchy individuals we are better off steering clear.

Dangerous like Kit DeLuca, the sidekick of Vivian. The spunky girl with the feisty mouth and shady profession.

If you are going, “huh?” right now, I am referring to the characters in the movie, ‘Pretty Woman’. To refresh your memory, it is the happily-ever-after story starring Julia Roberts, who is a prostitute named Vivian, who turns into a princess of sorts by the end of the movie.

Kit was not at all like Vivian. You see, Vivian seemed ill-equipped for such a scandalous profession, yet Kit seemed unaffected by her destructive lifestyle.

Or, so one would think. Maybe she had believed she had so little to offer, that she began to believe there was no other option for such a messed-up person as she.

But, Vivian didn’t think so. She saw something special in Kit, and believed in her until the very end…well, the end of the movie.

The final scene before Vivian is rescued by Edward Lewis, AKA, Richard Gere, has Vivian and Kit saying their goodbyes in the apartment they shared:

Vivian: We believe in you Kit Deluca.

Kit: Whoa. Whoa. What is this?

Vivian: It’s part of the Edward Lewis scholarship fund.

Vivian: We think you got a lot of potential, Kit De Luca.

Kit: You do? You think I got potential?

Vivian: Oh, yeah. Don’t let anybody tell you different, okay?

Vivian believed in her friend, so much so, that she gave most of the money she earned from her week-long trick, to her troublesome roommate.

She saw potential, while others only saw trouble.

I love to see the potential in people.

Like discovering a diamond in the rough; seeing the facets that have yet to glisten.

Jesus sees potential, while others only saw trouble.

Jesus saw potential in some risky individuals–sketchy, shady, destitute characters He chose to fully invest. Actually, investing in high-risk individuals seemed to be a norm for HIM.

What if we took His cue and fully invested into the lives of some risky individuals?

Without weighing the risks.

Without receiving anything in return.

Would we do it?

I’ve had the privilege to invest in some risky characters. One in particular comes to mind:

Josie: I see tremendous potential in you.

Josie: It is worth the multiple texts, phone calls, talks over coffee. All the exhaustive hours poured into you have been worth every minute to see you smile with your head held high.

Josie: I believe in you.

Josie: Don’t let anybody tell you any different, okay?

In the end, we see a twinkle in Kit’s eye as she shares her dream of attending beauty school with her potential new roommate.

A dream she was allowed to dream because someone fully believed in her.

I see a precious diamond begin to form before my eyes. I watch as she pours her heart into the lives of those around her.  

Fully invested in their welfare.

I see the flawless facets of her character begin to surface:

She is humorous, caring, hardworking, trustworthy–a gem of a friend.  

Who is your Kit DeLuca?

Angel in the Restroom

It is rumored, from those who have experienced the presence of an angel and lived to talk about it, that a specific trait among them was characteristic of their divine presence–no, not that being large, white wings.

It is said angels have strikingly-blue eyes.

Since I am quite certain there is no definitive evidence to prove this theory, I think this rumor will only be made as fact upon our entrance to Heaven.

Even so, I agree with this hypothesis.

This is why…

Each week, I believe I have been in the presence of one, and am here to talk about it.

Since I am not one to wait in line for an open stall before church service, I tend to wait until the midst of worship, usually during a song I am not particularly fond (No, not very spiritual), and take the opportunity to visit the restroom.

It is during this time, I happen upon a lady, dressed in a blue uniform shirt and khaki pants, working behind the scenes.

I am certain you would agree that this is one of the least pleasurable chores out there, even in the confines of a home.  So, think about having to clean up after hundreds of people each and every week.

No thank you.

But, this person is quite amazing.

Whether she is empties trash cans, picks up debris off the ground, wipes down sinks, cleans mirrors–no matter the chore, she has a characteristic that is angelic:

It is this amazing smile that accompanies her service.  

Always.

If she is having a bad day, I would never know it.

She is a true example of a servant.

It is said in Hebrews 13:2:

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

In gratitude for her dedication, I attempt to show this stranger, in the restroom, the most hospitable appreciation in response for her incredible service.

Oh, I forgot to mention…

She has the most amazing eyes–which happen to be a striking hue of blue!

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

I heard a rumor not too long ago that he loved Jesus.

To say I was shocked was an understatement.

This was in no way the man knew—or should I say, boy. The union was brief for this teenage couple– he a mere nineteen, and I, a sweet sixteen.

No surprise there.

But, imagine my shock to hear that, not only did he develop a love for Jesus, he had a determination to share this love with anyone and everyone ALL THE TIME!

His mom supplied the gaps of our lives apart with details of his intimate relationship with his Savior.  The one that stood out the most was his remarkable transformation.

I heard this love affair began on a day he was on the verge of giving up on life entirely.

It was said he cried out to God in desperation, and in a bold declaration, declared if HE helped him through this time of turmoil, he would dedicate his life completely to HIM.

Well, no surprise here…

God helps desperate people who cry out to HIM in the midst of desperation.

I heard he kept his end of the bargain, and lived his life with Jesus in the forefront of his everyday.

All the way to the end.

His life ended one winter day in March. Fourteen years ago.

He would have turned fifty today.

Is there someone in your life who seems too lost for rescue?

Don’t give up on this lost soul.

You never know how their story ends until the end.

 

By Day He Was a Janitor

By day he was a janitor.

His pedigree did not accompany letters like PHD, or Dr. No. This hardworking, humble man, walked the halls of a middle school and cleaned up behind the debris left by hundreds of adolescents in a single day. When I was little, it was such a privilege to accompany him after hours, and watch him take care of details most don’t realize need to be done.

He and his wife lived modestly. So much so, it was not uncommon for them to enter a restaurant and re-use old tea bags and just ask the waiter for hot water.

His wardrobe was equally as eccentric. Belt AND suspenders held up a pair of paints which seams had seen better days, and a grayish-white-short-sleeve-button-up topped the ensemble. The upper pocket of this shirt held a worn-out pocket protector which held only one piece of literature:

A pamphlet with the words, ‘Perhaps Today’.

He was quite a site.

On paper, his life was not marked by worldly possessions, but, I would suggest it far-surpassed most.

This man, who happened to be my grandfather, was my first witness of Jesus in words, and by action. A former missionary to Venezuela, he went on to pastor a very small congregation in the Midwest, without pay. He invested countless hours into the lives of only a handful of people for many years.

Yet, the fruit of his labor was far-reaching—much farther than I ever knew.

On the other side of the world, a walking postman lived in Ghana, West Africa. One day while working his route, he noticed a piece of paper on the ground. He reached down and picked it up and put it in his pocket. Later, he read the words, simply titled, ‘The Good News’. This homemade Bible tract was hand-produced by my grandfather, from the other side of the world.

How it reached the ground of this man’s path—only God knows.

But, the result was far-reaching. This man, whose whole family ended up converting to Christianity, went on to become a pastor himself. He planted home churches and shared the Good News of Jesus throughout his lifetime.

Though they never physically met, and related solely by hand-written letters, they worked alongside each other for both their lifetimes.

As a result, the trajectory of many lives changed because of their dedication. How many–only God knows.

Sometimes we don’t see the fruit of our labor, or, how far-reaching our actions can be…

May I encourage you today?

Your actions are far-reaching–much more than you may ever know.