Talk about Starting from ZERO!
Luke 2:6-7 (NLT) The time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The King of Kings started His life on earth in the most humble of circumstances. I can’t imagine what the night that changed the world forever must have been like for Joseph and Mary. Even though I am certain the accommodations for birth mothers were very different in 4 B.C. I am just as certain that giving birth in a barn was far less than desired.
Jesus’ story as a child was a hard one, filled with suffering and hardship for Mary, Joseph, and even the entire town of Bethlehem. It makes me wonder what God was thinking. I know that sounds brash, but seriously, what is this hardship, poverty, even homelessness about?
You see, in our culture, we raise up men and women as heroes when they rise out of poverty, conquer their enemies, and succeed. Of course, success means, freedom to do what you really want, or it may mean power to bend others to your will. Regardless, we don’t have many heroes who are homeless.
Surely the Story Gets Better.
Matthew 8:20 (NLT) But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
It looks like Jesus’ entire life was riddled with poverty. The richest and greatest of all human beings to ever walk this earth would literally possess only the clothes on His back. It would appear that the Son of God, the King of Kings, lived His entire life among us… destitute. I don’t know about you but I find that disturbing.
God the Father can do anything He wants, He is completely free to operate in any and all matters according to His choosing. How could I, for one moment, suppose that the situation His Son Jesus lived is coincidence? No, it had to be purposeful. God walked among us, as us, in poverty, depending daily upon the kindness of so many people, for a clear reason.
Something Matters, and it’s not what we think.
Matthew 25:40 (NLT) “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
The other day I prayed with a woman who was living in her van. I looked into her eyes and as I prayed for her I realized I could not blame her. You see that is how I get by. It’s how I continue walking or driving when I see someone in need and I don’t have or take the time. The same reel plays in my mind each time. I blame them. They must have done something wrong. It is their fault, they are just living the results of their poor decisions.
It’s not working anymore.
When I pray with people, somehow I sense what My Father feels and my heart breaks. Here I stand face to face with not only someone’s daughter or son, but also the Son or Daughter of the King of Kings.
One waitress was very worried for her fourteen year old daughter, she was so depressed. A retirement age woman trying to get back to family but currently stranded in her van. A college student worried that she will fail. A man with no one to help, no way to find a job, or even drive to a job if he had one. Another person, well into their retirement years, in so much pain, yet having to work a job, to stay above water.
Who are all these people? Every single one of them is Jesus. Jesus carrying the weight of the world on His shoulders everyday, just trying to survive. Jesus needing a ride to the next town. Jesus needing just a little food to get through today, or just a little money to keep things going one more day, and, Jesus asleep under the underpass tonight. So many Believers are looking for Jesus to show up in their lives, and He is everywhere.
What am I supposed to do with that?
Matthew 6:31-32 (NLT) “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Maybe it’s time to admit we’re doing it wrong. It would seem that we are living the very way Jesus said not to live. And, if you are like me you have considered those verses before and wondered what to do with them. After all, they just seem so impractical in an age filled with so much stuff. So here is something you can practically do with this.
Realize, things don’t matter. Possessions do not free us. Stuff is stuff and stuff just doesn’t matter. If the creator of the universe can live a lifetime on earth with nothing from here, then there is nothing here we truly need.
People do matter. Jesus loved people. He went to weddings, funerals, parties, and even church (synagogue). He laughed. He loved. He healed. He changed things. He taught us very simply that one caring, kind, and good person can change things. All it takes is a close relationship with His Father, and the willingness to stop and help someone.
Here is a quote that I have found compelling recently, “Love people, and Use things. Never get the two confused.”
I hope your Holiday is filled with people. And, I hope you love them so deeply and so profoundly your heart aches for them. And don’t forget Jesus is out there, go find Him.