For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
There was a time in my life when I said I was "very lucky." Now I know I have been very blessed.
That wonderful fact was driven home to me by a Craigslist ad posted by 26-year-old Jackie Turner, a student at William Jessup University. In her ad, Turner said this Christmas she wanted to "rent a mom and dad who can give me attention and make me feel like the light of their life for just a couple of days because I really need it."
Turner was willing to pay such a couple $8 an hour for their love and listening.
Now a bit of background might be in order. Turner said, "I've never felt the touch of my mom hugging me and holding me. I don't know what it's like to look in my dad's eyes and feel love instead of hatred." With that kind of home life it is not entirely surprising that Turner ended up on the streets, did drugs, was part of a gang, and spent a year in jail for grand theft.
After that year of incarceration, Turner turned her life around. She entered college where she has kept a 4.0 grade point average. Even so, she says there is still something missing in her life. That thing which is missing? The care which comes from loving parents.
Can I tell you there were two groups of people who responded to Turner's ad? There was a whole host of folks who said they were prepared to open up their hearts and homes to her and, no, they didn't want to be paid. The second group was those folks who, like Turner, had had a rough time in life. She received letters from folks who had been abused, beaten, rejected and scorned.
Recognizing the opportunity placed before her, Turner is trying to provide hope for those who are hurting. The girl's got style as she sets an example for our Christian families and congregations.
You know, when God's people come together for worship we usually look pretty stylish. We are wearing our Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and have had our Saturday baths. Guests and visitors at worship would think most of us don't have a trouble in the world.
Sadly, appearances don't tell the whole story. In every congregation there are those who are hurting and in pain. Injustices from the past, present letdowns, and disappointments say there are sad and sorrowful people sitting in our pews. This means we who have been blessed by the Savior's love and sacrifice are now being given the opportunity to reflect His love to others.
Of course, many of these hurting friends are like Turner and do their best to cover up. How can we possibly know who or how to help? The answer is simple: we do what Jesus did; we love everyone.
When that happens all of us will be very, very lucky. No, make that very, very blessed. Blessed by the Savior who has rescued us and blessed by those who reflect their rescue.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may we who have been blessed by the Savior's life, death and resurrection show our gratitude by loving others as He has loved us. This I ask in the Name of the risen Redeemer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries