No Place to Sit You!

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Compassion

This family had been the textbook definition of poverty, right before my eyes. They had lost their ability to work, lost their health, lost what little wealth they had and lost their dignity. They struggled with legal issues and illiteracy. Yet, they found a way to come volunteer every week, driving some 20 miles just to “give back.” The relationship we built while working together has blossomed and developed into true friendship and a form of discipleship.

They invited me to come to their home to teach them about the Bible and to give instruction in how to be the church. What an honor! I was humbled to be trusted with such a large task. I called an associate to help me and we made arrangements to go to their home for the meetings.

When we arrived, my friend opened the door with the brightest smile I had ever seen on her face! Her husband stood behind her greeting enthusiastically and waving us inside. What I saw shocked me!! Rather than the borrowed folding chairs I expected, I saw a brand new set of ornate sofas! A beautiful royal deep burgundy with gold trim, high sides and large pillowy cushions. At first I attempted to scold her for going to such an expense just because we were coming. Her eyes filled with tears. She was confused as she asked me if she did something terribly wrong.

I was immediately convicted in my heart. She tearfully told me, “Amy! I had no place to sit you!” I recognized her desire to do a very basic thing to provide their best for someone they deeply cared for. Her heart wanted to honor God and honor her guests. In some ways, one could say she did it as an act of worship of this God they wanted to know more about.

“I had no place to sit you” rings in my mind often as I struggle to understand why people do what they do. Sometimes their spending precious dollars is not the way I think it should be. Sometimes, I have learned, I am the one who does not understand what is important. Who am I to say what someone should not do if God is calling them to do it as an act of worship and obedience to him?

Again, I find myself walking a tight rope. I feel the tension between coaching someone in responsible stewardship and honoring what God is calling them to do. Perhaps coaching them should be a conversation, not dictation. Maybe it is more about obedience to God rather than obedience to a norm of society. Each situation and each person is different and is in a different place in their faith journey. It is our job to listen carefully, to hear what God is calling us to do or be. To listen to the other person and encourage them to follow God’s call in their lives.

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