Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beyond "Me"

It was the summer of 2001. I felt his tiny brown hand grasp mine and his little fingers twirl around my own. I looked down at his smudged face and dusty brown hair and smiled as he gazed up at me with a grin of his own. His name was Junior and he was my new pal. I was thousands of miles from my home and my eyes were now taking in the beauty of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

I looked down at my new little friend. Upon arriving at his local Church centered in one of the most dangerous and unsafe areas of the city, he was one of the first faces I met and I instantly loved this little boy with his big brown eyes that gleamed every time he gazed at you. Many little boys and girls in the neighborhood quickly won their way into my heart but Junior captured my heart and had it in his hands. Looking at him, I saw a little boy without a care in the world. I saw a young child unscarred and untainted, surrounded by those who would love to trampled him into the ground. He was in an area filled with gang activity and drug dealers, living among those who would fight to strip him of his childhood innocence as soon as they could catch him. Yet he was oblivious to all the pain and sin in the world and only wanted this - my affection. All he wanted was to befriend this American teenage girl. Something inside began to hurt as I looked at all the children gathered around the steps of a local shop. Both little boys and girls alike were always around hugging us, smiling at us, wanting our attention, our time and our love. Loving these little dirty rascals was a simple and easy to do. But inside me, there arose a deep hurt. And with every mission trip, the hurt only increased. 

You see, modern, American Christians think the world revolves around them. I can say this because I am an American Christian who has the comfort and ease so many of us here in the USA are blessed to have. We think God is incredibly pleased and that we are doing God a favor by going to Church or doing good deeds or living well. As much as I hate to admit it, we are self absorbed, haughty, and we definitely take grace for granted. If we could see ourselves in the horrible, sinful state we were in before the blood of Jesus washed us clean, I am convinced that we would be a very different people altogether.

I believe what this generation needs is a shot of serious, radiant transformation. Instead of running after worldly endeavors with all the gusto we have, we should be about changing lives, inspiring souls, and making an eternal difference for the Kingdom of Christ Jesus. The Gospel, the glory of the saving Redeemer, is far from dull and bland, and the merciful grace and the unconditional, massive love of our sinless Savior deserves more than a mere two hours a week. Love so rich and unworthily poured out upon us demands our every waking moment. Little Junior taught me that. A young boy in Brazil who forever changed my perspective.

It's not about us, friends.... it's about them.

If Jesus Christ be God and died for me,
then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.

— C.T. Studd

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