Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stir the Water

For the past couple years our church has hosted Grocery Giveaways.  In a nutshell they consists of 10,000 lbs. of food being dropped at our church on 12-15 pallets.  From there volunteers sort, count and stack it all within an hour and a half.  The food is ultimately given out to folks from our community.  Each time we do this it is exhilarating.  Each time it is tiring.  Each time also brings with it new insights into the needs of our community, the church and my own heart.

We receive our shipment of food around 3:30.
We distribute the groceries at 5 pm. 

Today, and like every other time we get host this ministry, people start arriving to the church early in the day.   Today it was at 8:56 that the first car pulled into the driveway.  8:56 am!

Here's my confession.  I was annoyed that she pulled into our driveway 8 hours prior to us distributing groceries.

And here's the next confession, I said something about her to Pastor Josh.  I said it in a derogatory way.

I was wrong.
It's not my business.
I apologized to Josh.  I apologized to God.

Jesus had an experience in John 5 at the Pool of Bethesda.  Around that pool the sick and the crippled gathered.  They hoped that by going into the pool at the point of the water being stirred something phenomenal would happen--they would be healed.  So there, around that water, people would lie in wait.  All day.  All week.  All month.  All year(s)?

And today she showed up in our parking lot at 8:56 am.  She sat there all day!  She was there 8 hours.  I don't know why she "doesn't go get a job".  I don't know why she doesn't go somewhere and work on her resume.  I don't know why she sits in the parking lot all day for $70 in free groceries.

But maybe, just maybe, she thinks that through the church, the body of Christ, something phenomenal can happen.  Maybe she wants what we have--and I don't just mean our groceries.  Maybe she believes the water is stirred when the people of God serve and love others.   

When Jesus encountered that entire pool of people he approached one man and healed him.  We served her today.  We also offered her an opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ prior to handing out groceries.

I know her because she's received groceries before.  I am guessing we'll see her again.  If she is in the church parking loat at 8:56 am next month I know I will think of her differently.  Rather than scold or sneer I'm going to stir the waters.


Jan said...

Thanks, Peter. This made me really think about my own attitudes and judgmental thoughts/words.

Mike said...


Your thoughts are right on. Thanks for leading our church in this direction.

michelle Knickerbocker said...

I have read this multiple times, Peter. I am convicted & changed to follow Jesus better. Thanks for your honest thoughts.