Monday, March 15, 2010

On Not Liking That I Am a Christ Follower

Sometimes I am tempted to dislike that I am a Christ follower. Case in point. Kim and I celebrated our upcoming 30th anniversary by taking a Mexican cruise over spring break. Traveling on a luxury ship from LA to the Mexican Riviera our first port of call was Cabo San Lucas. No excursions for us other than to walk about the shops and restaurants near the harbor.

It was during a rest stop that I saw her. An elderly woman was rummaging through a garbage can picking empty plastic bottles and anything else that could have a second life other than the garbage dump. When she finished her treasure hunt she took her bag and sat near us.

I didn't think about it...just responded to what could have been my American guilt or the Holy Spirit. I dug out some cash, walked to the woman, gave it to her and said, "Vaya con Dios." I hope that meant "God be with you."

Her toothless smile was all the response I needed. I walked away with no warm glow in my heart. I was just glad to offer some help to this woman. I was just struck by the contrast of my wealth compared to her poverty. But the part of me who wanted to enjoy the luxury of the cruise did not care for this encounter with this poor woman.

Yes, there are days when I would rather not be a disciple of Jesus Christ. But when I affirmed my baptism and was confirmed, and every day since then when I daily decide to be a Christ follower, I gave up the right to choose whom I will love and whom I will not love. God, help me to know when my love for others requires actions that include generous sharing of my wealth.

Grace and peace,


Marti said...

Dave, thank you so much for this wonderful insight. As I struggle with how to best be a friend to a woman here who is alcoholic and suicidal, I sometimes would just like to walk away. But I can't. It is hard to be a Christ follower. But I really wouldn't have it any other way. Your words brought perspective to my feelings today. Again, thank you.

Leila said...

Great dibble Dave. I know how you feel. Leila

Julie W said...

Dave I once encountered a woman in our church in St Louis that was so smelly, annoying, smothering. I prayed God help me love this woman for your sake. He came to me with the words, "what if this is me and you don't know it?" It shook me into a reality of being visited by the very presence of God in ways we don't like. I responded, "God I'd love you even if you looked like a cyclops with one big eye." When I saw her next, my heart lept with warmth. Amazing how the Holy Spirit does work in us. We are tested in our love even when we don't want to love. Thank you for the reminder.

Julie's Journeys said...

Thank you, Dave! I plan to share this with my congregation.