"Gentle" is usually the first word that comes out of someones mouth when my friend approaches. He is massive, but proportionately so. My friend has autism so he is sometimes forgets the advice. Every day it is the same. At least his power is released in suffocating hugs. Often I feel my back crackles as he effortlessly picks me up off the floor. My feet dangle like loosely hanging autumn leaves. He sets me back down again and pats me on the back twice for good measure. At least to him they are pats. I brace for their jarring force. But I don't mind. Really I don't. He wants to show his affection. My friend "aged out" of foster care at the age of 18. Now he is given money to live on his own. He has done surprisingly well. He budgets and invests. Perhaps the investments would not be considered wise according to a scrutinizing eye. His purchases are what any 18 would buy. The important thing is that he is investing.
This afternoon I wandered downstairs. My head was spinning with a variety of tasks and I wanted to spend time with the youth. Their raw energy can be refreshing. Before I knew it I was wrapped up in a bone-grinding hug. As I was gently returned to the earth my friend told me that it was his birthday on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Actually what he told me is that he would be missing class that day (he takes classes at the local community college). I think he wanted me to scold him for not taking school seriously enough. He laughed and explained the rest. "I am glad you'll be spending Thanksgiving with your family," I chimed. "No. I'm coming back that night," he replied. I felt dumb as he offered a few excuses for his family. "But it's okay, the pastor of my church is having a dinner for people who don't have anywhere else to go..." Don't have anywhere to go! My heart hurt.
"...I was a stranger and you invited me in." - Matthew 25
"We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's let all the parts of our life accordingly strive towards him as our only lawful goal." - John Calvin
Tomorrow I will be preaching on Matthew 25:31-46. Below is a link to a video of Keith Green talking about the same verses. It is a reminder of my early faith. Pray with me that the word will come strong and clear tomorrow. Pray that by God's grace we will have vulnerable hearts to hear and that the Holy Spirit would empower us to DO.