My dear friends,
I am sitting at my desk today, having just finished writing my “Through the Bible in a Year” blog. Today’s reading was in Ezekiel. Ezekiel is to go and tell the children of Israel about what lies ahead for them, and it’s not pretty, unless they turn their life around and get right with God. In Chapter 3 we see that God tells Ezekiel to warn the unrighteous, as well as the righteous, of their wicked and evil ways (in today’s terms that would be the Non-Christian and the Christian). He is to warn them about how far they have gone, how far away they are living life away from God.
Tears are filling my eyes as I am reminded of a news story just this week about the treatment of a small child slapped, kicked, cigarette burned etc., all because of a behavior that annoyed the parent. I am reminded of the story of an 85 year old, somewhat feeble woman who was beaten and robbed in an elevator as she was returning home from the bank. The robber used her own cane to beat her and then stole the cane so she could not get up and walk (as if she could after the beating he gave her). I am reminded of the elderly in my community and the homeless people on our streets dying for lack of water.
I sit here with tears flowing down my cheeks, needless loss and tragedy that need never happen and yet it does, every single day – somewhere in our world, somewhere in our country, somewhere in our state, and somewhere in our communities. I write often about my desire to make a difference in the life of another person. I pray each time I write that someone out there will read my story and that it will touch them in some small way for God. That somehow my sharing my life, my walk with God will make a difference. Maybe I am just kidding myself, I don’t know. But today I was convicted; I was moved to really think about what God has called me to as I read the story of Ezekiel’s life.
God called Ezekiel out of his everyday normal existence of living to a higher task. God called Ezekiel to speak to everyone, to speak to everyone in essence about their walk with God. I can’t help but wonder if someone ever took the time to share Jesus with the people who perpetrated the crimes I spoke of above. I can’t help but wonder if someone ever took the time to show God’s love to those people. It is not enough for us to just speak the words, but we need to put feet to those words. We need to be God with skin on for others; others need to see Jesus in our lives as we go about our day-to-day existence. We cannot, I cannot be so self focused so busy with life, that I miss the opportunities to let God minister to others through me. What is really sad is often I am too busy with what I perceive to be ministry for God; talk about your oxymoron.
If someone would have taken the time to notice that young mom, I mean really notice. If they would have taken the time to share a meal with her, to listen to her story, to maybe teach her how to manage the care of a young child when crying or hungry. If someone would have expended time and energy into building into that young mom’s life, to come alongside her, that small child might still be living. I can’t help but wonder why no one was with the 85 year old woman. Did she no longer have any friends? Was there no one to walk with her, no one to see after her? And the people dying because of the heat make no sense at all to me. Many of us buy water by the cases in plastic bottles. We take them everywhere with us as we understand the need for life giving, life sustaining water. Do we not have enough to share? Do we not notice or think about those who are on the streets hoping and praying for just a sip of water to quench their thirst. Do we not think about the elderly neighbor who might need assistance, who might not understand they need more water in the heat, even if they are not outdoors?
In 2010, there were 80 heat-related deaths in Maricopa County in Arizona, where I live. A third of them were people over 65 years old, and 70 percent of the deaths occurred outdoors. (Of that 70 percent it is likely that 50 percent or more where homeless). Where are those who can make a difference in these people lives? Where are those with whom they have contact? Where are those who drive by, or walk by the homeless on our streets each day? Do we just not see? Or, is the issue, no one cares enough to have contact with them? And what about those who are not homeless – if they are not homeless they are living next door to someone; maybe you…. maybe me – do we not notice? Do we simply not care? Or are we simply too busy with other things to be aware? 80 people died – needlessly – 80 people!
I cannot speak for others. I cannot speak for you; I can only speak for me. Sadly, if I were truly honest, for me, it is all of the above. I do not always see, I need to ask God for eyes that are aware; for eyes that see as He sees. I do not always care. Ouch, that one hurts. And yes, I am very often too busy; I don’t have time – I will do it tomorrow. And, we all know the saying, “Tomorrow never comes”.
I started out this blog with the command given by God to Ezekiel to warn the Christian and the Non-Christian of the many ways they have turned their back on God. What I did not mention was if Ezekiel did what God commanded and the people refused to listen and change then it was on their heads. However, if Ezekiel failed to do his part the accountability was not on their heads, but his. Ouch….
Like Ezekiel we all have a responsibility – we are all accountable. If God came back today, if God came back in the next 10 minutes, where would the accountability for the lives of others, entrusted to you, those entrusted to me (those in our circle of influence, those in our sphere of every day living) lie? I shudder to think.
Until next time,