Copyright 2005, Nancy J. Watta
Reflecting back on what once was and looking forward to what is to come may bring smiles and laughter to our hearts or cause tears to flow down our cheeks. We are wired to laugh, to cry, and at times in the midst of life laugh and cry at the same time.
We have no control over how often it rains or when the flood waters rise. We have no control over the hurricanes that wash over our shores. We have no control over the earthquakes that shake our earth. Yet, we do have control over assisting our neighbors in the midst of the flood, in the aftermath of a hurricane, or assisting in picking up the pieces after an earthquake.
A few years ago I had my first experience with flood waters. I went out for my morning walk, and when I returned, I glanced across the street to a low lying area. I saw that the water had risen over the bank of the river and was beginning to flow into a home. The family was carrying everything from their home to higher ground. I made the decision to step in and help.
At one point, I found myself standing in water up to my waist inside of the home, calling a local agency to seek assistance for the family, because they had nowhere to go. During my conversation with the local agency, I was shocked and almost fell over in the water. The answer was, "I'm sorry the person in charge has not decided what to do yet."
I was given two more numbers to call. The answer was the same from the other two organizations; no one was willing to help. Later I stood on the sidewalk a muddy mess wondering what has happened to our world? Does anyone care? Today, as I reflect on the day I stood waist deep in river water, I am reminded of the importance of the church.
The church is made up of Christians whom God has placed in the world to become difference makers. It's not about how big our buildings are or the size of our budgets, but instead it's about God's people reaching out in practical ways and sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ as we walk through life. It's not always about bringing together a formal committee or board, but it's about individual Christian people who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and assist someone in need. It's not about building a monument to ourselves, our organizations or even our city.
Instead, it is reaching out with a hand as Jesus Christ illustrates in Luke 15:4-7: "If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived, you would call together your friends and your neighbors to rejoice with you, because your lost sheep was found. In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away.
On the day I stood in the flood waters, I could have chosen to become bitter and unforgiving, but instead I made the choice to walk through life the same way since I have walked since 1992. This may mean listening to someone who is hurting, teaching in areas where others will not go, speaking words of truth, and many times standing alone for what I believe.
A reminder to the church of today is that we are called to be a group of people who have received Jesus Christ, who love him with all of our heart, soul and mind. We are to come together in praise and worship, with a heart to reach others. I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)