On this Good Friday, I'm asking myself this question:
I believe that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for my salvation. So, how important is it for me to pay it forward for someone else every day?
I'm not suggesting the ol' "good works to buy your way to heaven" deal, because no matter how much you try to do to "earn" it - you can't earn salvation. Can't be done. No, what I mean is more simple than that.
How much more can I show some real true compassion and concern for someone else and make a real attempt to help where I can? How many opportunities do I pass up because I just don't want to get involved or get my hands dirty?
I gave up chocolate for Lent. Has giving up chocolate made me a better person? Oh, I doubt it - maybe it saved me a few calories and a few grams of fat - but it's a silly sacrifice compared to the one my Savior made for me on the cross to be sure!
Last night I went out for dinner with a girlfriend. We were driving along and came to a major intersection in our city and I saw a man standing on the median holding a crude cardboard sign that said HOMELESS AND HUNGRY. He looked to be a young man in his 30's maybe and was wearing a baseball cap. My heart went from being light and funny because I was joking around with my friend, to heavy and sad when I saw this man.
I'm so torn at times like that - I'm not ignorant - I know that sometimes people use things like that as a rouse to gain entrance to your vehicle and do awful things. There was no way that two women in a car are going to stop and help a man - homeless and hungry or not.
Even with the decision made that we would definitely not entertain the notion of having an encounter with him, I could not shake the image of him standing there with that sign. I am neither homeless nor hungry. I could have easily bought a dinner and taken it back to him, but I didn't.
In the Christian community I always hear that you should never give people money because they'll go buy drugs or alcohol with it. We don't really know that, do we? If we had given him some money, is that what he would have done? Who has the crystal ball that says that? I thought we are to help in any way we feel led and let God take care of the results. Is that a naive' way to think? I didn't give him money either. I didn't do anything.
Okay - I did pray for the man. No - I know everybody says that - but as my friend will attest - I really did pray. We got to the restaurant and I was upset. I could not get him out of my mind. The man and the sign are permanently etched in my memory bank. I sat at a restaurant with my friend and maybe I should have just shaken the image out of my head - but it wouldn't go.
My appetite had left and I felt a nagging. I said, "I just need to at least pray for him - even if I don't think there is anything I can do for him, I know there is something that God can do." We prayed. Where is he now? I don't know. Does God know? Oh yes He does because we prayed some reinforcements to gather around him in his struggle. Angels are watching over him until God sends just the right man along to help him.
On Good Friday we watch the movie, "The Passion of the Christ". It's a painful reminder of what my Lord went through for me. I don't know why - I just know He did. Well, I do know that God is a just God and can accept no sacrifice other than a perfect one - and only His one and only Son was perfect enough to be sacrificed for my sins. I know without that sacrifice I would not be going to heaven when I die.
I'm no great scholar or theologian but I am a believer.
Today I just want to pay forward the story of the cross. God loved us so much He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price - His life - so we could be saved and live with Him forever in heaven.
That's my "pay it forward" to you today.
It really was THE GOODEST OF FRIDAYS. I'm thankful for the love of my Lord.
Here's the movie "The Passion Of The Christ" (don't forget to turn on the "closed caption" and set it on ENGLISH). Settle in and let it bless you.
My friend and author of the inspirational devotional book, "Coffee With Jesus", Lucinda Berry Hill, has written this poem for us today. It asks the question, "How much time did I spend on my knees?" Wow - that's one to ponder.
When I leave this world
And my time is all that I take,
How sure will I be
When I open my book
And show what I've brought to the gate.
How many months
Did I take the time
To care for the sick and the lonely?
How many days
Did I send out a smile
Even to those who're less friendly?
How often were times
I'd search through His word
Hoping to grow from within?
How much of my timeTo be with the Lord
With thanksgiving and praises to Him?
How many weeks
Were spent being selfish,
Hoping to hide from the Lord?
How many seasons
Or will it be moments
Did I spend in sharing God's word?
What will my book show
Of time spent in worship;
More time in His word or sin?
How sure will I be
When I take to the Lord
My journal of time spent with Him?
Today I felt led to share a second poem by Lucinda because it is how I feel about Good Friday.
I'm sorry for the pain He felt;
For the torture, and things said.
Lucinda Berry Hill, author of "Coffee With Jesus".