Thursday, November 27, 2014

The cost of one's own substance...

She wakes up early and works tirelessly with little ones whose mamas cannot care for them during the day.  They are so young, they don't even know how to thank her.  She is a ready hug with beautiful crows feet from a face well smiled.  She is the face that matches none of her sisters at work but whose tongue speaks Zulu like a champ because love compels her.  She is alone and she is tired


love compels her.

He is another story.  If you google his name, there will be many so pages, it would take days to filter through them.  He comes from a most extraordinary background and has become a most extraordinary citizen.  He's a coveted speaker nationwide.  He could go anywhere and do anything.  But he'll sit and have tea with you, a nobody, because he's not easily impressed by credentials and engagements.  He'll tell you, "Never forget the little people.  Never forget to invest in the ones who can add nothing to your life."  Isn't that what Jesus Christ did for us?  And you know this man hasn't forgotten the little people all along this coast because children who are now grown still call him "Uncle" and tell stories of how he came to their school with his guitar.  Just to sing praises with them.  And somehow each one of them felt loved in that sea of children


love compels him.

She has a story of her own.  Perseverance, endurance, and faithfulness are this woman.  Piles of papers and legal documents cover her desk and demand her time.  But her eyes are on the underdogs, the forgotten ones, the abandoned ones.  They moments from eternity and just need a clean bed upon which breathe their last breath.  She'll complete the pile of papers with excellence because love compels her to maintain an excellent facility for these forgotten ones.  But love compels her also to leave her desk in this moment, sit by a patient's bedside, hold his pale, trembling hand, hear his story, and whisper the hope of a Savior into his ear.  Exhaustion knocks at her door but she plods on


love compels her.

These are some of the saints we work with.  They are not saints because of their own effort or any perfection on their part.  They are saints in the flesh because Christ has loved them, transformed them, and lavished His grace upon them.  They have savored Christ who now compels them to be salt and love to their neighbor.  With the dawn of Advent near, these saints remind me of Alfred Delp's depiction of Advent candles as a symbol of the Christian journey:

"This is a peaceful, reticent, but constant shining.  This is giving light at the cost of one's own substance, so that one is consumed in the process.  Anyone who wants to comprehend Christ's message of light...must comprehend this one thing: the mission, the duty to shine, to draw others, to seek, to heal, to do good at the cost of one's own substance." (David Timms, Sacred Waiting)