Today is one of those days that makes it all worth it. It was a hard day, but a very good day. Weeks go by that we provide groceries to needy people and they seem unresponsive, unthankful, and remain stuck in their patterns of co-dependency. But not today. Today they flooded the altars, presenting their requests to God, and calling upon their higher power to deliver them from addictions. This job of pastor -- it is a high calling.
I went to a house a few doors down to convince an angry ex-convict not to beat her neighbor to death with a baseball bat. We talked, we prayed, I listened to a constant stream of anger. And then I presented her to God, reminded her that anger will make her a slave, and prayed for her to find the power of forgiveness. She wept and gave it to God and promised to not reach for that baseball bat any more. This job of pastor -- it is a high calling.
I traveled across town to sit for a few hours with an elderly man whose 42-year-old daughter died last night of complications related to colon surgery. I held hands with this spiritual giant as he told me that Jeshua is his fortress and his strength and that God is using this pain to make him into the man God wants him to be. I cried out to God with him in his agony and we embraced and shed tears and praised the name of God in the midst of the storm. This job of pastor -- it is a high calling.
After weeks of struggling to start a recovery group for smoking addicts, two ladies showed up tonight, smiling with their toothless smiles and saying, "Well, we're here." The chains of addiction are breaking and the gates of hell cannot withstand this onslaught. This job of pastor -- it is a high calling.
I sat in a board meeting tonight with a career military man and watched as his heart was softened to the plight of the inner city poor. I noticed the fire in his voice as he spoke about the injustice of a little church like ours being underfunded when other churches including his own have so much. I saw a mini-conversion -- a conversion from blind middle class American values to informed, heart-wrenching pain for the poor. I saw this ex-Marine look in my eyes with his tearful eyes and say, "I love what you're doing here." This job of pastor -- it is a high calling.
I rejoice today, God. Thanks for letting me be part of your team. Not every day ends this well. Not every day is filled with such holiness (or at least I don't notice it). But today you filled my cup. You reminded me why I fight the battle of the near eastside. You reminded me what a joy it is to be one of your agents for change in the world. Thank you for this high calling. Your mission and your beautiful coming kingdom make life worth living.