Fitted wranglers wrap around well-worn cowboy boots. His button-down shirt pressed with precision, silver snaps polished clean. The top button flails slightly to make room for the place he is now breathing through.
Long, sun-worn legs fold neatly next to him, adorned with wedged shoes that would make any mouth gape. A common armrest sits empty between them as she begins her feeble attempt to lighten the looming air. She shares all about her life of service behind the tray. Her pride on her shoulders as she proclaims she now has regulars. And based on the stories inked on her skin, I’m guessing this is as close to casual banter as it gets. He listens while nodding at the floor. His hands wringing to the rhythm of whistling air.
A nurse checks his wristband and offers to usher him away. His companion’s brightly patterned nails slap his knee and she cheers as lightheartedly as she can “Go get ’em, Walter!” Her stack of bracelets add to the chorus and all heads turn to join in on the encouragement.
I can’t help but watch her. With one glance I know we are worlds apart and with another I’m intrigued. Curious to see how similar we truly are.
When he is no longer in view, she melts in the chair, conforming to its curves and lets out the biggest sigh of “Thank God!” I have witnessed in years.
Whether it was intentional praise or indirect relief makes no difference. He heard her. And I saw Him answer hours later when the surgeon emerged with good news.
With that, she is ready to be on her way.
The doctor pleads otherwise.
Reasons or excuses come next and the man draped in white is having none of it. He tries to listen patiently but time presses hard. Finally he exclaims “Ma’am, I’m trying to save your brother’s life here, but I’m going to need your help…”
Out of words, she collapses into the same chair and nods in agreement. No longer helping in conversation but listening to the instruction he brings.
I finally see the resemblance.
Later that night, while thanking God for answering my prayers in that room, He reminded me of her. Rather, He showed me a mirror.
Friends, I’ve been known to pull a Jonah. I’ve had experience running from Nineveh. Excuses and reasons why I shouldn’t be the one come easy for me.
I’ve ignored His call to harvest before. I argue. Complain. I’ve even tried to remind God there are other things more important. Things affecting me today.
You know what? He listens, but He doesn’t relent. He simply keeps pointing the way, asking for my help. As if He needs it.
Sometimes I show up and trust my presence will be enough. I smile and encourage and play the part the best I know how. But there is no fooling The One draped in pure grace… No, He wants all of me.
I’m not sure when I figured it out: The fact He doesn’t really need my help. His glory will always prevail. But I’ll never forget the moment I realized this truth is a mere incidental.
Because the reality is: It is I who needs to help. To contribute to His glory. To show others He is my all in all. To deny myself and pay attention to my brother/sister. To focus more on Him.
A portion of verses have ended up in my lap numerous times lately (it helps they are found in Matthew and in Luke). I’ve talked about them before. And I’m ashamed to admit it took this long for me to really listen to what He was telling me.
It wasn’t until I had read it in The Message interpretation that it really hit home:
Then Jesus went to work on His disciples.
‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.
You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.
Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.
Follow me and I’ll show you how.
Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way,
My way, to finding yourself, your true self.
What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?
What could you ever trade your soul for?’
So this is what denying yourself is all about. This is why selfishness doesn’t have a place in His Kingdom.
- It’s not about me.
- The harvest is plentiful…the workers few.
- And Home is on the horizon.
Father, oh how You pursue me. Thank you for Your persistence…for always being willing to work on me. Yes. I’ll deny myself today and live like I mean it. For it’s all about You. Why wouldn’t I want others to know and join me on this journey Home? Lord, I’m ready and willing. You lead, I’ll follow…
How about you, friend? Are you ready and willing? How do you deny yourself? Do you contribute to the harvest? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.