Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

... Spring Update
After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.

Jesus sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.

Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me. (
Mark 9:33-36, NLT)

I write to you from western Pennsylvania, home of Church Army USA. I moved here in late December, 2007, and soon found myself in charge of a school-age boy on the verge of homelessness. He came to live with me to finish his third and fourth school grades, while his mother worked toward financial recovery and re-establishment of a permanent home for the two of them.

Then along came the recession with its layoffs and scarcity of jobs. Present circumstances are indicating that this young man will remain with me another year, finishing out the fifth grade.

This young man, who I'll call Alex, says that he has Jesus in his heart, and looks up to me to support him in his belief. While I think I am teaching him, though, I suspect he is also teaching me.

From the start, his nature was to contradict everything that I say and imitate everything that I do. That abruptly taught me which was more important: words or actions. As he grows older and begins to test the limits of his behavior, choosing the right actions has become more challenging.

My core ministry has been caring for the homeless. What I'm learning from this small homeless person is what God wants me to do for any of the homeless. He wants me to welcome them as Jesus welcomed the little child. He wants me to be Jesus for them.

I don't think I'm up to that, of course. But that must be my goal. So until God moves me on to my next assignment, I need to learn that lesson so that I can take it with me.

Pray for me, friends, as I continue down the path that God has set out for me.
And thank you for your caring concern.

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
. (Isaiah 11:5 NLT)

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