I’m planning to be spontaneous soon
I was reading a great article about a spontaneous act of kindness in the aftermath of the bombing in Boston last week. You can see the entire article here. It seems a runner from Alaska competing in his first, and probably his last, Boston Marathon had finished his race some time before the bomb went off and received the coveted medal given to all who finish the race.
In the aftermath of the bombing he and his wife found a young woman, who had also run and was not finished when the race was halted, sitting on the curb crying. She had just found out her family was OK and was simply overwhelmed by events. The couple stopped, gave her a blanket and, in a spontaneous gesture, the man gave her his hard earned medal saying “You’re a finisher in my eyes.” They never identified themselves to her as they did it.
Later the woman receiving the medal, and the kindness, used Facebook to seek and eventually find the couple. It also came out that this couple were Christians and active in ministry. The story has gone viral on Facebook and elsewhere and there is no telling how many people have heard of, and been touched by, this act of sacrificial caring. The two key features off this act were spontaneity and sacrifice. What a great witness!
In Luke 13:10-17 there is the story of Jesus healing a crippled woman in the synagogue on a Sabbath. What I find interesting about this story is that Jesus was spontaneous. The text says “when Jesus saw her…” He initiates the contact, there is no evidence that she had any expectation he would do so. The second element is that He was sacrificial, at least in earthy terms. He ended up in a heated theological debate.
I think of this couple, and the example of Jesus, as I consider the outreaches and ministries we take part in today. For the most part we have taken to carefully planning our sacrificial spontaneous ministries. Let’s all meet on the third Saturday of May at 9 AM and go do this or that ministry. Such things are nice but so often we wonder why they don’t seem to work the way we want them to.
You can buy books, lots of them, on how to organize and plan your next sacrificial outreach. There are ideas by the dozens about what might be a good one. Some are so trendy that it seems everyone is doing them. We choose one, pick a good time for everyone, organize our efforts and show up with our sleeves rolled up ready to minister.
Ministry in whatever form is good and God can use these efforts. But how much more touching is the one-on-one, spur of the moment demonstration of love? How many of our organized efforts got a quarter of a million Facebook likes 24 hours later? Maybe I shouldn’t be planning next month’s spontaneous sacrificial outreach. Maybe I should go out the door today, and every day, asking Jesus to open my eyes to small and personal ways to show His love.