This week's song was really popular about a year ago. It had special meaning to me because I was working with our youth group at church to start thinking beyond themselves, to think about people in other parts of the world living in extremely different conditions. And now today, I find that this song is still sending me an important message that I can use in my daily life.
The song is called, "My Own Little World," and it's performed by Matthew West, one of my favorite artists who still continues to inspire me.
In simple terms, I continue to remind myself that Jesus' message was to love God and love people. So easy to remember, but not necessarily easy to do. This song reminds me of some verses from one of Jesus' parables. He is talking about what it will be like when the Son of Man comes in his glory:
The King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me."
Then the righteous will answer him. "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Today in church, a man unexpectedly stood up to share a story with the congregation. He talked about how he had been in the city and someone had approached him asking for some spare change. The man shared that he just continued walking and did not give the stranger any money (I'm sure he's not alone in his reaction and response). He then shared with the congregation that he later realized that the man who approached him was Jesus. He didn't tell us how he knew this, but he talked about his feelings of regret and remorse. He knows that he will be forgiven, but is stuggling with this awful feeling of having failed God.
God wants us to love each other, he wants us to be compassionate for each other. It seems like it's so hard to do sometimes...especially with strangers. These one-on-one encounters with strangers also require a level of trust. To trust a stranger in a dangerous world....that's tough.
I do believe that we can experience the Kingdom of God when we are in service of others. I believe that loving God's creation ignites the Holy Spirit within us. I've felt it myself. At times when I've been serving others, making a difference in someone else's life...outside my own little world, I've felt so alive, so charged with energy, so alive in Christ.
But then there are seasons in life when I am less alive, less filled with the Holy Spirit, more focused on myself. I have to admit right now, with this new life that I have started in the UK I am not in balance. I have been so focused on my own little world, my life, my family, our challenges and problems which are so minor relative to others in this world. I've just come to the conclusion that I need to expand my world. This song has been telling me that over and over, every time I hear it, and now it's finally sinking in. I need to be more active in bringing God's Kingdom to earth.
So I share this song with you today, just in case you're feeling like me right now...unbalanced, consumed with the issues of your own life. Perhaps God is calling you to look outside yourself. I don't know about you, but I'm going to give it a try.