the weblog of Alan Knox

Faces, Names, Lives

Posted by on Jun 27, 2008 in love, missional, service | 2 comments

Over the last week or so, God has given me the opportunity to meet a few people who are very different from me – and different in various ways. Since I’ve met them, God has kept their faces, names, and lives in my mind as I’ve continue to pray for them and to wonder if and how God is going to continue winding our lives together. Its interesting, because until about a week ago I didn’t know these people… but now I think about them all them time. I think I’m learning more about love.

Tina – She is a friend of a friend of ours. We’ve talked to her a couple of times, but last Saturday I had a chance to talk to her more at the home of our mutual friend. She has emphysema and was recently treated for cancer. She is constantly on oxygen. She’s trying to stop smoking. She’s living a very difficult life. She says that she needs friends – people she can talk to when she’s struggling. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who appreciated someone praying for her as much as Tina.

Mrs. Fort – We actually met her briefly about two weeks ago, but we had a chance to talk to her more last Saturday. She has arthritis, and it bothers her when the weather changes. Last Saturday she told us that she thought it might rain because her knee hurt. She introduced a couple of her granddaughters and one of her great-granddaughters. I could tell that she was very proud of them. I think my wife remembers her the most, especially the way that she looked when she introduced the girls.

Emanuel – At first he thought we were trying to sell him something, and he wasn’t interested. When he found out that we wanted to give him some fresh vegetables and fruit with no strings attached he was a little more interested. He also wasn’t too interested in talking to us until I asked him about his scooter parked just outside his duplex. He loves his scooter and is very proud of it. He also loves vegetables. It is amazing what people will tell you when they’re talking about something that they care about, instead of trying to force them to talk about something that I care about.

Mrs. Jenny – She was sitting in a motorized chair when I met her last Monday. My friend was reading the Bible. She leaned over to me and said, “I’m not an atheist, but all this religion stuff is new to me. I really only started coming because of him”. She pointed to the three year old son of my friends… the little boy who was going from person to person talking to them, giving them hugs… loving on people who were not usually loved on. This simple expression of love by a three year old attracted her to hear what my friend was reading from the Bible. Her hearing is bad, so she couldn’t hear all of the words he was reading. But, she could see the love he was living very clearly.

These four people are all different from me and each other in various aspects: social status, age, race, economic status, physical abilities, etc. But, all of us are alike in the way that matters most: God loves us and desires to be reconciled to us.


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  1. 6-27-2008

    I think a huge problem in church is that we have gotten so instituionalized that we want everyone to come to us ready to “do church” the way we do it. We don’t want people who aren’t sure about who God is or about Biblical doctrine. We want them to come cleaned up, knowing most of the hymns/songs we sing, looking like us and thinking like us. With attitudes like that, how are we supposed to take the gospel to our neighbors much less the whole world.

  2. 6-28-2008


    Good point. Institutionalization also de-personalizes ministry (or service) such that it becomes “ministry”. Its no longer about the people, but about running the “ministry” efficiently.

    That’s the point of this post… ministry (or service) is about people who have faces, names, and lives – lives that are real, problematic, and messy.