Saturday, September 13, 2008

whatever you do for the least of these...

My last post was about going to a "Leadership" retreat for two days and, of course, I was a little apprehensive about it. I'm really not exactly sure why, but there are certain categories of folks I just don't feel comfortable around.

One of those categories is Superficial. I don't really care for superficialness or casual conversation about the weather or politics or designer clothes or cost of gas. I can talk about it with folks, but its boring. Those topics to me are just facts of life that you deal with and not get you down. There are enough worries for the day, so why focus on the trivial.

And I was wondering what God had planned for me on this path, this retreat, this spending exclusive time with what I feared would be superficial. You know, how to be a good leader according to worldly standards, making business contacts, which fork to use, blah blah blah. None of this I care about. So I was wondering what on earth I was doing signing up for this and participating outside of my comfort zone.

God has a sense of humbling someone just at the right time, doesn't he.

It was a reminder to the nonprofitprophet to not prejudge people. It was a reminder that all people, no matter their walk, socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, position, whatever, have their own story. Their own crap they carry with them. Their share of burdens and concerns and life experiences that they bring with them to their daily walks. That no matter what we look like, or the appearance we wish to display to the world, there is an inner person, a soul, that is aching and seeking something larger. God. A community. A fellowship. An understanding. Someone to say, "hey, you are not alone in this mess!".

and I was glad I went. It was similar to my Emmaus Walk experience in a sense. It was an exercise in trust building. This group of 35 folks opened up in ways I never imagined would happen. People with addictions, breast cancer, alcoholic families, homelessness, poverty, welfare moms, race issues, expressing themselves and where they have been and where they are today.

And a common thread emerged throughout the weekend. Its not all about me! I was shocked. Many spoke of when they realized life is not about them. It was like listening to people talk about when they got saved. Some had a date and time moment. Some have a lifelong experience with this. Some stories had the tissues passing around. And we all have a desire to give back to the community, the world, in some fashion. So this experience, program, dare say fellowship, is helping each person explore ways that they can do this.

and I was wrong. Its not superficial. It was real. Very real. And I was glad I was wrong. And I am glad I am a part of this. It is the hands and feet of Jesus at work (okay, there is one Muslim in the group that bunked with me so I guess I need to include God/Allah in there as well) because, despite the perceived differences that I had assumed seperate us, I learned, no, was reminded that there are more things that bring us together. And to know that others have recognized a broken and hurting world gave me hope. And perhaps, a renewed sense of goodness in people.

So I am humbled and reminded by an awesome God that we are all children, stumbling our way through this world. And sometimes, when least expected, one of them well reach down and help you up when you stumble.

Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers, you do it to me. Matthew 25:40


Endlessly restless said...

Hi npp

I'm glad that you got so much out of this. Glad for you, and in an indiredt way glad for me. I've been thinking a lot about comfort zones over the past few days, (I still need to clear up a few things before I write another post on it) and one of my conclusions is that to learn we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zones. I mean to really learn, learn in a way that changes our outlook, approach to life, work, faith, all of it together.

Anyway, more of that later...

Life is full of surprises.

nonprofitprophet said...

E.R. - I look forward to your thoughts. Shall check it out. For those that know me well personally, about 5 years ago I took myself way out of my comfort zone, my security zone, for many reasons - because frankly life was sucking the joy out of me... and I switched gears. Occupations. It was just a step in a long process of change... and change can be scary yet exciting simultaneously. I'm still on that journey, and have no idea where I am headeed honestly. Not only does God have his own timing, he has one twisted sense of humor. ~npp