The past few weeks have been really stressful for me at church. We have been missing budget consistently and it seems to constantly wear on me as I try to balance everything financially. Our church carries a pretty big debt that existed long before I ever got here. It gets stressful when I let it… when I don’t trust that God will see us through… when I spend my time sweating the next steps.
I had an amazing lunch Wednesday – not because of where I ate but because of who I ate with. He reminded me of something that I certainly know – yet like a complete fool I constantly forget. I am not God – only God is God and He is going to do whatever He wants. He will always see us through. He will always be in control. And even though I know it, I believe it in my soul – I always seem to slip back in to worry mode… or Mr. Fixit mode – taking the bull by the horns and trying to make something happen! And before I know it – God is back on my shelf.
Last night my wife had an experience that she shared with me that really – hopefully permanently – will serve as a reminder of what God has called me to.
She and a group of other women from Eastside spent time with some amazing women doing some amazing work in a city near where we live. This group of women have a ministry where they go into gentlemen’s clubs to serve food to the women that work in these clubs. They also just spend time talking with the women, spending time with them, listening to them, getting to know them. They spend time giving them manicures, helping them with their makeup – essentially just being friends to them. It truly is amazing what is happening in these women’s lives… experiencing, mercy, love and grace from representatives of The Church – rather than judgment, condemnation and disdain.
One of the stories my wife just shared brought us both to tears as she relayed it to me. One of the women from the group that goes into the clubs was talking to one of the women who worked there. She struck up a conversation with her and asked her how she was. Her response was probably something just said in kind of a small-talk way – “Oh my feet are killing me.” The response was – “would it be ok if I rubbed them for you?” I cannot even imagine the shock she must have felt in hearing that. Maybe she even thought there was no way she would actually follow through with it. Her response was – ok sure. As she followed through and actually rubbed this stranger’s feet – the recipient of the foot rub asked her why she was doing it. The response? Because I love Jesus. A few nights later that same woman showed up at the women’s Bible study they host.
Even as I type this – through tears – I remember something that my friend said to me at lunch on Wednesday. He said – “Jason, how God honoring is it to think about the number of hours you have dedicated to worrying about budget shortfalls and mortgage payments on your church – when those hours could have been dedicated to pouring into the lives of people.” When I think about the time that Jesus spent when He washed the feet of His disciples I want to bawl my eyes out thinking how much like Him the woman was that rubbed this stranger’s feet – in an act of intimacy, compassion and humility.
God – I don’t know what you are doing with the finances in our church… but I know it has to be up to You because I can’t control that. I can however love people, spend my time with them, be Your hands and feet in our community and trust You. And I do – I love You and I trust!