Monday, May 18, 2009

it's not about dave.

About two months ago, I read this book. Remember? I told you about it. How it gave me a new perspective on a population of people I too often ignore.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. When I told you about my husband’s encounter with a homeless man and how it made my breakfast cold. But how much I loved my husband for reaching people like that.

What I forgot to mention was that my husband invited the homeless man to go to church with us.

And that he came.

That’s right.

Two Sundays ago, we picked Dave up from McDonald’s (his favorite hang-out spot) and made the drive to church, all the while entertained by his rather frightening stories of life in the shelter, all the while wondering how exactly this was going to work. Because, I'll be honest here, Dave is different from me and you.

The smell.

The clothes.

The cough.

The rather insistent chatter.

But then again, Dave is the same.

The struggles.

The frustration.

The hope.

The desire for something more.

And, wouldn’t you know it? Our congregation embraced the similarities.

Because, two Sundays ago, we walked into our church building several minutes late with a dirty, broken man. And he was greeted with smiles, hugs, welcomes.

Kind of like I think Jesus would have done.

I was a little in awe.

Because, I won’t lie: Dave makes me uncomfortable.

After all, he dipped snuff during the Lord’s Supper. This is a little unusual for me.

I’m not really into snuff.

But I’d read that book, remember? And so I looked at Dave with new eyes.

I think this whole time, God was preparing me.

Preparing me to love and accept like never before.

He must have been doing the same to the people at Timberlane.

Because they loved and accepted too.

And this week, Dave came to church with us again.

This time, a little cleaner.

With nicer clothes.

And combed hair.

And no snuff.

It’s pretty amazing actually. But not for the reasons you might think.

Yes, it is pretty amazing that Dave is coming to church with us.

But it’s not about Dave.

Dave sleeps though the sermon.

And asks us for cigarettes.

And complains about lunch.

And isn’t much for religion. (Although, may I remind you, he is voluntarily coming to church.)

We’re not quite sure what kind of impact this will all ultimately have on Dave.

But we know the impact it’s making on us.

And on the people around us.

Because, like I said. It’s not about Dave.

It’s about the incredibly awesome, all-powerful God we serve.

I almost get teary thinking about how God has worked in our lives in the past month.

How this one homeless man who may or may not care one bit about Jesus has taught me so much about Him.

How God is allowing us to see His power. Actually see it.

How God is using Dave.

To show me how to love.

To show my husband the meaning of sacrifice.

To show my brother the church’s potential.

To show my dad and mom what the church looks like in the eyes of another.

To show Timberlane what can happen when someone different walks in the door.

To show others the Jesus we know.

To show our friends what it really means to step out of the box.

To love the unlovely.

The first Sunday Dave came with us, God showed His power again.

Our minister spoke about Jesus and the leper.

You might not know the story. And that’s okay.

It’s just about this guy. Who was dirty. Filthy. Sick. Untouchable.

And my Jesus touched him.

Loved him.

Accepted him.

Saved him.

And while our minister was talking about Jesus and the leper,

I was thinking about me and Dave.

And how the God I serve touches the untouchable.

And calls me to do the same.

5 comments:

Jordan Jones said...

Nice post. And I wholeheartedly agree--it's amazing to see our God work, to make things fall into place in accordance with His own will.

chet said...

Annie,

I was at Stevie B's last night with Danny, Jared and Lindsey talking about this man when Jared asked me a list of oddly descriptive questions about him.

Turns out, Jared has spent many an hour sitting and listening with this man over some Burger King coffee.(jaredwilsonpemberton.wordpress.com)

jenna said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

ashley said...

I cried at work when I read this. Annie...this was absolutely beautiful. Every last word. I know how sincere you are....

Brooke Bailey said...

wow...

p.s.
I love Timberlane too!