Wednesday, April 6, 2016

is Jesus welcomed in YOUR home?

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ~ Matthew 19:14


Several years ago, I found a concrete statue of Jesus surrounded by two children. Eagerly I purchased it and had it sitting on my front stoop to my house. Before winter, I'd bring it in to keep the snow and ice from pitting it, then set it out once more in the Spring. When I moved, Jesus came with me. 

In my current neighborhood lives a little girl who lives two houses down from me. One day as I worked in my yard, I heard her ask, "daddy?" 
"Yes?" came his reply from the direction of his garage. 
"I see Jesus over there!" 
"Yes, that is Jesus, isn't it?" 
"Daddy?" 
"Yes, honey?" 
"Can I go give Jesus a hug?" 
I heard a chuckle, then his reply made me smile. "Yes, you can go hug Jesus!" and so, she got off of her tricycle, walked up my sidewalk and hugged Jesus, then just stood by Him. After a moment, her father called for her and she went back to her trike, stared at Jesus a bit longer, then slowly pedaled away. When she reached her house, she stood on the driveway all excited, "daddy! I got to hug Jesus!" Almost every day this ritual took place...she'd pedal up to my sidewalk, get off her trike, hug Jesus, then pedal off to other adventures.

Here I am today...another move looming, this time to help care for my husband's parents, a new adventure filled with possibilities. With possibilities, however, comes sacrifice. One by one, I gave up many things that went to the thrift store, realizing that combining two households leaves me not really needing extra blankets, towels, furniture and especially, knick knacks. 

I stood next to my statue of Jesus, contemplating.

This statue weighs almost seventy five pounds. It is heavy to move. "But You aren't heavy!" I tell myself. "You're my Brother!" (as the song goes). Yet to move it once more...I'm older now and this statue is cumbersome to move from here to there. I came to the conclusion that Jesus needed a new, permanent home. I asked my sister in law, who loves Jesus as much as I do, if she'd take Him. In fact, her whole family is very centered on Christ. "Will you take Jesus for me?" She was excited in her reply. "Yes, I'll be happy to have Jesus!" One more time, I cradled this statue and together, we made the trip to her house. Now when I go there, I smile...He is in a nice place. He is welcomed there. All who see Him will be blessed and graced. (By the way...by cradling this awkward statue and carrying Him, I was reminded also of how Simon of Cyrene also carried Jesus' Cross....of how what could have been a burden was suddenly made lighter because of Who it was for.)

How about you? Do you smile when you see Jesus? Where IS Jesus? Is He welcomed in YOUR home? Not just a concrete statue, but also IN your home as well as in your heart? Is He present in all that you think...say...do? Do your friends also welcome Jesus? "What would Jesus do" should not just be a catch phrase...it should be how you live your life. If Jesus were with you right now, would you watch that porno flick? Would you listen to hateful rap music? Would you be reading that particular book? Would you walk past someone in need and shrug your shoulders as if to say, "You're not MY problem?"

Ask yourself this..."is Jesus welcomed in my home...in my life...in my head?" Because if He is...would HE accept YOUR ways of living? Would He laugh at the raunchy jokes you tell or pass on social media? Would He appreciate the way you speed past someone on the freeway, not caring if you may cause an accident? Would He sing WITH you to lurid song lyrics? Would He approve....would He?

In my preparations for this move, with each piece I give away, I am doing what Jesus admonished His followers: "give up ALL that you have...and come follow Me!" I am doing just that...not only material goods, but whatever thoughts of selfishness pass through my head as well. You see, when one makes a move such as this, one has to come head to head with the mortality of life. "You can't take it with you" really begins to make sense. "Do I really need this?" I ask...referring to whatever bauble I may want to keep. And I realize...STUFF doesn't matter...PEOPLE do! It's all just STUFF! But thoughts, feelings that come from deep within the heart...these things cannot be measured...instead they spill forth and grow...Love grows! It's a small miracle that I watch in astonishment. My heart feels so pure...so light....and it is hitting me like a whirlwind what Jesus' disciples also must have felt! "Give up ALL that you have...and come follow me!" Wow!

Like that little girl mentioned earlier, we all must have that sense of wonder within us. "Daddy, can I hug Jesus?"
Yes, please...please embrace Him with all your heart...and come...follow Him. We're going to change the world!