Today was an awesome day. I spent the whole day with my son working on different projects. My six-year-old son loves to work with me. He would rather spend a day pulling weeds and working dirt than go to the lake or the park. So after we worked at the new church building this afternoon, I got a call from an old friend, who I haven’t seen in years, who needed a little help with his well. So Bobby and I headed that way. I was excited about catching up with an old friend. We spent several summers exploring and walking the creek beds and ridges of Indian Mound. It’s a fairly exciting life here in Stewart County! Bobby was excited about meeting new folks, seeing some coon-hound puppies, and getting a job done, so, off we went.
We got to the house and caught up a little, then turned our attention to the well. After some careful, inexperienced, and desperate consideration, we decided the top needed to come off of the well. So we cut a few pipes, unhooked the electricity and lifted the top off of the small opening that gave a view into a twelve-foot diameter hand-dug hole in the ground. My friend told me the well was hand-dug in the 1930’s. I looked around at the rocky walls and imagined the work and the danger involved in this feat. This would scare today’s toughest roughneck into an office job!
Then, there it was! The moment God led me there for. A huge bullfrog, kicking around in that well like he didn’t have a care in the world! I looked and looked and shined my flashlight around looking for the way he got in there. He must have hatched there, I guess. There was no way in or out, there was no way he could have fallen in-I had just taken the top off. How did he get there? How in the world did he get himself into this predicament?!
That’s when The Holy Spirit brought a scripture to a whole new life for me.
John 9 New Living Translation (NLT)
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of hisown sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.[a] The night is coming, and then no one can work.5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
In this scripture, the disciples asked WHY the man was blind. Was it his sin, or his parent’s? Just like me with the frog. See, the frog was coping. Pretty well, actually. He was fat and happy. But when I took the top off that well and showed him there was so much more than the world he knew, then I had a responsibility to show him how to be free! It’s the same with humans. We have to see people through. Let me tell you what didn’t work, I said- get out of there-he didn’t move. I said you’re just lazy-that didn’t help either. I said-that frog doesn’t have enough sense to get out of that hole-didn’t help.
The point is. People are broken, all of them, and they need Jesus, all of them! All of us! Are there lazy people? Absolutely! Is laziness also brokenness? Absolutely! How do you fix brokenness? By introducing them to Jesus and nurturing their relationship with Him. It takes our time. It’s so easy to walk by and see people in their “holes” and wonder how they got there and just keep walking. It’s easy to see the panhandler who hides his car under the overpass and think we have two choices. We can throw him a couple bucks, and feel better about ourselves. Or we can look down on him and think about how wrong he is, and feel better about ourselves. But the third choice, that’s the rough one. That’s where you have to take up YOUR cross. That’s where you have to give him some time. That’s where I have to take him to lunch, not give him money for lunch, but invest in someone for Jesus. Introduce him to the Great Physician. Pull the lid off the hole he lives in and show him the life that Christ intends for His followers
Ok, here’s the confession. The frog is still in the well. That’s right. I did what we are good at. I looked around for something to reach down and get him. I couldn’t find anything, so I put the lid back on and drove home. I didn’t do much to help the situation because it was easier to just make it invisible to me, and drive home. And, so it goes. That frog didn’t talk, like the donkey in the Bible, but the Holy Spirit sure did! I’m not convicted about the frog, but I’m deeply convicted about what the frog represents in the things God puts in front of me every day.
It’s time for a change! It’s time for the church to stand up for the oppressed and stand in place of the poor. It’s time we led the charge in helping people. You know what the worst part of poverty is? It’s not being hungry. It’s the absence of hope. We can give a family a meal, we can give them meals every day, but if we don’t give them hope, they are still in poverty. It doesn’t matter why they are where they are. Laziness is just as much brokenness as gluttony. Drunkenness is just as much brokenness as greed. Even though greed and sloth lead to two polar opposite socio-economic outcomes, they are still both a result of brokenness. Just because my brokenness leads to a different outcome than someone else’s doesn’t mean that it deserves a different grace!
It’s got to start somewhere
Even if it starts on The Back Pew