I read a story on the internet that really touched my heart, and I’d like to share it with you. It goes like this:
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a t-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This is his entire wardrobe as he goes to college. He is very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending classes. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day, Bill decides to worship there. He walks in with no shoes, wearing his jeans and t-shirt, with that wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed, and he can’t find a place to sit. People are looking a little uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right up front on the carpet. (This is fine for college fellowship, but trust me, this has never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. The preacher looks up and sees that from the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now, the deacon is in his eighties, has silver hair, and a three-piece suit. He is a godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane, and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he is going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the deacon to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the thumping of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. No one even breathes. The preacher can’t preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And, now, they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down on the floor next to Bill so he won’t have to worship alone.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the place! When the preacher finds his voice again, he says, “What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live.”, he tells them. “You may be the only Bible some people ever read.”
When I first read this story, it brought tears to my eyes. It still does. It brings a lump to my throat to think of how much like Jesus the deacon in this story has become. Jesus loves people! Jesus loves all people! Jesus looks at all of us with the eyes of love. Jesus sees beyond our outward appearances and all of our disguises, and knows and loves us as we really are. Jesus gets down on the floor with us so we don’t ever have to be alone.
I want to be able to love people like that! I want to be able to love people so much that I can’t see the place where they end and Christ begins. I want to be his eyes, his hands, his feet with which he changes the world. I want to love as Jesus loves, so that if I am the only Bible some people ever read, they get the right message –
Jesus loves you!
Come. Let’s learn how to love each other that much…together.
Pastor Barb <><