Monday's Challenge: Don't Just Walk Away

Last Sunday near the beginning of church service the worship leader asked the congregation to leave the church and walk the neighborhood for the next 15 minutes to specifically pray for the families in the community. I loved the concept and eagerly set about the task.

I stepped outside into the warmth of the sun and glanced around for a direction others weren’t already heading. Typically I love groups but this particular morning I felt the need to go it alone. As I began walking a smile spread across my lips. I enjoyed the vision before me of so many congregation members out walking around. It felt like communities of the past where families strolled together around the neighborhood. There was a sense of camaraderie knowing we were all out there to pray blessings over each home we passed.

One of the first homes I began praying for had a length of black chain fashioned around the front of the small yard. As I looked at the chains I was struck with how many of us live in bondage. We struggle with low self-esteem, we work hard to earn possessions we don’t really need and more importantly we aren’t living the free life Christ promised on the Cross. I was that individual for many years and in that moment I renewed my thankfulness to Christ for bearing my sins and giving me life. And then I prayed for the residents and for chains to be removed in hopes that they too would live a life embracing the freedom God intended for them.

With each step, with each prayer, I began feeling a renewed sense of what it means to offer up meager prayers recognizing God is already at work even when I have no idea what specific needs might exist.

One last home caught my attention as I passed beside it before heading back into the church. The home was similar to its neighbors’ but the yard was in severe need of care. Overgrown grass and weeds nearly reaching my knee were begging for attention. I was overcome with the possibility of some of their basic needs being in just as bad of shape. Were they able to take care of themselves? What was going on inside the home that caused the outside to be so neglected? I wish I could say I went up and knocked on the door to inquire of the resident’s needs but I didn’t. I just walked away.

And as I walked I thought of how many of us look at someone else’s position, status, dress or situation and dismiss the outside need rather than working as God does to know the inside. We see the clothes but not the person wearing them and either presume they have it all together or that we can't do much to help. We recognize position but not the individual filling the role and the possibility that they too need a friend. We see a coworker, student, customer or neighbor but not the human being right in front of us longing to have someone take the time to listen. So often we don't bother knocking on the door to determine the needs. Instead, we walk on by.

My time in the neighborhood was up but my heart was just beginning to rethink an old lesson. I was challenged to continue looking beyond the “yard” and into the “home” of every man, woman, boy and girl I meet. I’m up to the challenge and ready to learn more.

What about you? What's been challenging you lately? Drop me a note and let me know. I'd love to learn along with you.


Popular posts from this blog

God Walks With You

All Aboard!

Bitter . . . Sweet