Have you ever looked back at your life (perhaps to the recent past) and realized that you missed an opportunity that God had given you to serve someone? Unfortunately, that happens to me often. Many times, I try to justify the missed opportunity, but in reality it is just that: a missed opportunity.
While the title of his post is also the name of one of the all-time great classic rock songs, that is not what his post is about. Instead, Bobby replays an incident from his childhood in which a church leader missed the opportunity to serve him and his family.
Here is a small part of Bobby’s post:
I had it all worked out. I had friends who were in on my secret and they would be my lookout. I had the schedule memorized and the optimal times to sneak away for a smoke all figured out. It was not a flawless plan. Once an adult caught wind of nicotine in the air, the hunt was on and eventually I was the marked target. I would now have to pay for my sins and be put away from the flock. As they say: little leaven leavens the whole lump.
I vividly remember the pastor bringing be into a private room, taking out my delicious pack of Marlboro Red’s and going completely mental as he broke every one with veins pulsing in his forehead and the look of pure disgust on his face. “I’m doing this because I love you” he tells me. Huh, I thought. Strange love.
After he took out all his emotions on my helpless pack of cancer sticks he escorted me out to the pool where all the other kids were playing. He got everyone’s attention so that I could obey his command to confess to everyone my addiction to cigarettes and let them all know that I was leaving. It is my most embarrassing memory to date and I owe it all to the Pastor who “loved” me enough to put me through it.
Whenever I return to this time in my mind the feelings come flooding back. Embarrassment, shame, fear, guilt, rejection, anger, sadness all coursed through my veins simultaneously. A sweaty little teenage boy hoping to find someone who would accept me in spite of my failures.
You know, I’ve found that there are many little teenage boys and girls – and many older men and women – who are hoping that someone will accept them in spite of their failures. Often, when these failures become apparent, we have an opportunity to accept and serve the person in the love of Jesus Christ.
This is where we often “drop the ball”…
I’m praying for opportunities to serve people, and at the same time, I’m praying that God will give me the grace and humility to love and accept them in spite of their failures, just like he loves and accepts me in spite of my failures.