Saturday, October 02, 2010

Did You Notice?

Macon, GA - sometime in the mid 1960's. Vietnam is only beginning to be a household word, civil rights aren't right yet and in a few short years the fight for them won't be very civil. My mom is busy on a Saturday morning, returning Christmas presents. Since this is in the pre-mall era, we are in downtown Macon on the corner of Cherry and First streets - in other words, on the busiest corner in town.

My brother and I come to a proper halt beside our mother as we wait for the light to change. Something causes me to look to my right, and there I see an older black man, sitting, and strumming a beat up guitar. He's wearing a suit jacket, a pork-pie hat, and as he sings, he rolls his head side to side. In front of him sits a tin cup.

I turn to my mother and ask her, "Who is that man?"

She immediately grabs our hands and walks us over to "Blind Willie", fishes in her cavernous purse, and produces a five dollar bill, which she places in his cup. Then she says to the man, "Willie, these are my boys, David and Bruce. They noticed your playing and wanted to meet you." He had stopped playing, and now his hand extended outward, unsure as to where to reach, but reaching nonetheless. "Pleased to meet you boys."

We shook his hand. It was warm and smooth and rough at the same time.

Then we went on our way.

In later years, we would see him again and again, and my mother never failed to greet him, and to give something, even if coins were all she had.

I thought about Willie today for the first time in a long while. And I wondered how long he had been there before I noticed.

Reading the gospels this week, what Clarence Jordan described as "Jesus' doin's", I was stuck over and over again by how often Jesus noticed people that others did not - and not only noticed them, but gave them His respect and His time.

Have you ever noticed this passage?

Not long afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby cities and villages to announce the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women he had healed and from whom he had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. Luke 8:1-3 (NLT)

Luke names several women as members of Jesus' traveling group, and then he writes "and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples."

When "credit" is given for what happens in a church, often it is the most visible who receive it. Most often it is the pastor, sometimes the teachers, or worship leaders, or perhaps a deacon. They are visible - obvious even - but what about those not named, those "many others?"

I write this today to say thank you.

Thank you for giving to the Lord to support childrens ministry, even though your children may be all grown.

Thank you for supporting the work of your pastor, for praying for him, for your encouragement to him and his family.

Thank you for digging deep, way past your tithe, time and again, to help your church continue to reach out to people for Jesus' sake.

Thank you for bringing coffee, or paper towels, or crayons, or a hundred other items to church, and never caring whether anyone knew or not.

Thank you for cleaning, and mowing, and painting, and another hundred other things you did though no one saw you do it.

Thank you for inviting your friends, coworkers and neighbors to church and your positive testimony of what God has done in you through it.

Jesus saw you, and I thank you.

You know, sometimes we have to be taught to see - to notice.

Look around you and see who has been a help or an inspiration to you and let them know how much you appreciate it.



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