Going to share something slightly embarrassing with you.
Toy Story is for real y'all.
This pink bear was lying on the side of a busy highway for at least 5 days.
Our collective family hearts couldn't take it anymore. We kept hoping that a child had dropped it out of a car window "on accident" and a compassionate dad would drive the roads looking to find the lost toy. Or maybe it was an angry girlfriend tossing the bear after a fight, but like any good love story, they would make up and tell their grandkids of how they drove this stretch of highway to find their symbol of young love again.
But no one came back and our family couldn't leave it there to weather day 6.
I'm not sure what compelled us to rescue a stuffed bear, but we definitely felt pulled to it. And now that it is clean we feel good about our decision. It wasn't that hard, two trips in the washer and a quick fluff in the dryer and the bear had another chance. Good as new. There is something therapeutic about cleaning a mess. You see progress as the dirt falls away and freshness returns. You feel like you've made a difference. You can stand back and admire your work and have satisfaction in how far it's come or you have. Sometimes the mess changes and sometimes you change because of the mess.
I remember when I was around 13, a friend of mine had to clean her bathroom a couple of times a week. Not a big deal if you're washing the towels and wiping down the sink, but her mother wanted a deep down scrub in the shower and the toilet at least two times a week. It was only my friend using the bathroom, no siblings at home, but her mother insisted.
One night we had a sleepover at my house and she needed to use my bathroom.
Before I go any further with this story, I AM NOT GROSS nor did I live in filth, HOWEVER, I cleaned when I was made to clean or when we had company coming.
After my friend used my bathroom, she asked if she could clean it. Now, I'm imagining if you're a parent reading, the horror of a guest offering to clean your bathroom would be really embarrassing. But when you're 13 and you have a little bit of Tom Sawyer in you, you're delighted to get out of cleaning something so disgusting. While she was scrubbing, I asked her why she wanted to do this.
With every bit of sincerity, she explained that cleaning her bathroom all the time had zero satisfaction for her because it never looked dirty. But because mine (ahem) did look dirty she would feel like she was making a difference. She could see the positive results of a hard work. She said she liked it better than doing hers because she couldn't see any difference in hers. It was always the same. And as an added bonus, it made her happy taking care of someone else's needs. The difference in their lives made a difference in hers. As my legs were dangling off the edge of the sink, her logic at such a young age made sense to me.
Which brings me back to the forgotten bear. This whole rescue got me to thinking about how we all feel beat up, used, tossed away and abandoned. Some more than others, but there's not one human who hasn't felt like the bear on the side of the road. Left alone at some rock bottom place in their lives. When we surround ourselves with people who seem to have it all together, go to church with people who appear to have life figured out, when we go to our jobs and have the cup of coffee with the coworkers who seem to have a plan, we miss the joy in the rescue.
We all need to ask a little bit more. Do a little bit more. And that's when we will see the difference. When we will help people with their messes. When we deal with our own dirt and throw it in the washer. We can't wash the pretty little walls in our safe places forever. At some point, we're going to WANT to make a difference. We are going to WANT to find that lost soul, the forgotten friend, the lonely shut-in, the hungry stranger or the addicted teenager. You know WHY we are going to want to find them? Because we want to help make them NEW again. Give them another chance to get it right. We need to make an opportunity for Christ to move into their lives and to remind us why we LOVE Christ in the first place.
He loved the unlovable...and found us on the side of the road.
Seeds to Share today:
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.