Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
I was friends with a young man who went by the name “Big Mike”. He died about a year ago, due to multiple physical problems related to severe obesity. After attending my church for several months, he said, “This is the first place I’ve ever been a part of where I don’t feel different. I’m not judged by my size.” Heartsong Church was where Mike met Jesus.
Shortly after Mike’s funeral, our pastor had a plaque made with Mike’s picture on it, and put it in our Hearthroom where people gather for coffee and talk before and after services. The plaque says, “What if he was the one? What if the only reason for the existence for Heartsong Church was so Mike could meet Jesus?”
What if Heartsong Church didn’t exist and welcome “whosoever will may come”? Would Mike have had an encounter with the living Christ who changed his life? I don’t know. But I do know this: I met Mike at Heartsong and was one of the people who didn’t see him as a fat man, but someone like me who wanted to be loved and accepted just as he was. I was one who made a difference in his life. That life-changing experience was all about Mike, and it was all about me. Someone had done that for me before, and I paid it forward to another seeking soul.
In Acts 8, two other people had a similar experience. One day an angel of the Lord told Philip to go to a road out in the desert. Did the angel say why? No – not until Philip followed the instruction. On the road, Philip saw a man riding in a chariot. The Holy Spirit nudged Philip to go talk with him. Did Philip know why? No – not until they got into a conversation.
This person was the treasurer for the queen of Ethiopia. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and was reading the Book of Isaiah while on the way home. Philip learned that he didn’t understand what he was reading. Once Philip explained that this Scripture was prophecy about the coming Messiah and told him about Jesus, the man came to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. One person helped another person, and it changed both of their lives.
It’s obvious how Philip helped this man. But how did the experience help Philip? I think he saw how important it is for us to act when our hearts are stirred with compassion, rather than just sit on the sidelines and think about it. Each of us has a unique place in God’s universe. We are made in His/Her image to fulfill a special part for the redemption of us all. God loved us into being, and when we pass that love along to someone else, we are literally the hands, feet and heart of Jesus and have the transformational power to change someone’s life for the better. Just like God did for us. Just like someone in our lifetime did for us.
Some of our assignments are on-going, such as treating people like we want to be treated. Other times we might feel led to say or do something in a specific situation, perhaps without knowing why. God’s nudges are never pointless, but always personal, and every time we allow God to bless through us, we are blessed, too.