Reaching Out

Proverbs 21:2-3 NRSV
All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Our elementary school is known in our community for its performing arts. Oh, we’re not a magnet school or anything. We just have a group of teachers who love kids and want those kids to have opportunities to sing and dance and act. This year, I’m in charge of the play and I’m determined to make it the best play ever, not so much in excellence of show (though I hope the kids all do their best), but technically so that all the parents can hear and see their kiddies on stage. Technical performance is demanding because it means (in this case) managing about 15 microphones, two computers, a CD player, and calling the show cues for eight student light operators and stage crew. It also happens to mean trying to keep 70 cast members moving from one place to another so that they end up on stage when they’re supposed to.

The problem is that all my good intentions of having a technically good show seem to go down the drain when a egocentric child decides that I’m the answer to their life’s problems and interrupts what I’m doing to ask me what they should do now that their pants are wet from “accidentally” being dropped in the toilet! In the midst of this, I need to be reminded: What would Jesus do?

Jesus was never afraid to stop what He was doing to minister to the people around Him. His disciples, I think, were more like me, interested in achieving the goal, while the Master was (and is) much more interested in saving the lost. This was never better exemplified then when parents began to bring their children to Jesus for His blessing. The disciples didn’t see this as part of the group’s mission and tried to send the children away:

“Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’” (Matthew 19:13-14 NRSV).

Now we all know that the kingdom belongs not only to children. But the fact is, the kingdom belongs to those who are seeking God’s love, His blessing, His acceptance. Our Father is reaching out His hands to the lost, to the disenfranchised, to the lonely and neglected and hurting. And He reaches out His hands through our hands. We are the physical Christ in this world as His Spirit lives in us and through us. The children who come to me often come from homes where they are ignored and neglected. (Two little girls were left at school last night for an hour after practice because one girl’s mom refused to come and pick her up). The best “show” I could give isn’t the one that satisfies my pride, but rather is one where I reach out to every lonely “demanding” child to give love and mercy and, yes, even forgiveness.

Copyright 2009 by Robin L. O’Hare. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. Permission to reproduce will be given by author by contacting servinggodalone @ yahoo.com. All copies must be reproduced in their entirety and distributed without cost.

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