It Matters

This Sunday our pastor preached on Luke 13:10-13. “10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”

When our pastor came to verse 12, he spoke in depth on how Jesus SAW the crippled woman. Jesus did not overlook the woman. She had been bent over for 18 years. I wonder how many people had failed to SEE her during those 18 years.

I have the privilege of teaching in a Christian school. My 9th grade students just handed in their devotionals they wrote for English class. One student’s paper was very unsettling. This student is very bright; however, she is different in that she blurts out ideas in class that are off the subject. She wants to be a part of the class friendships but is shunned because her humor is not on the level of the other students.

I cried when I read this girl’s devotional. She gave the difference between soil and dirt. Dirt, she said, is the dust that makes land useless. Soil is the dust that makes our land grow bounties. The following is an excerpt from this child’s devotional: “I was almost convinced I was dirt because of the way some people treated me. They drained out most of the water I had for my land and transformed it into a total wasteland. I was rarely reminded by others that I was soil, and that I have the potential to change the world. Since I was thirteen years old, I have been praying for a colossal downpour of friends who will encourage me that I am soil in Christ, not dirt under the feet of others that hears people’s rantings and gets kicked around by their feet when they are frustrated.”

She ends by giving advice to others to wait on the Lord. She says that He will give those who are hurting, ”the right tools and amount of water to make our harvest.” Her prayer is not a request, but rather, a plea: “Father, we beg you to provide rain for us.”

The Lord has thrown down this gauntlet before my feet. Now it is my opportunity to see this as an opportunity from God to serve Him well. I wonder how many other opportunities God has sent me that I have overlooked and turned the other way. I will never know on this side of heaven, but I can see this challenge as God giving me one more chance.

How many of us would have looked the other way rather than to minister to the crippled woman Jesus spoke of in Luke. Have you overlooked people in need? Keep your eyes open, and He will bring you another opportunity to serve Him by serving others.

9 Comments

  1. by Dawn Brockmeier

    On February 28, 2013

    Great one Judy!

  2. by Lill Kohler

    On February 28, 2013

    What a wonderful comparison. She is not just soil but highly enriched soil that will feed others for years to come.

  3. by Wanda

    On February 28, 2013

    Oh my Judy, what you’ve just said resonates with me like a sonic boom. You see I was like this young girl that no one took the time to see. Growing up, unlike her, I was too scared to make myself the center of attention in a class setting because I’d been ridiculed enough, had subtle digs and barbs to go along with the ridicule that I was always silent except with the only allies I had, teachers. Teachers like students who do their homework, answer questions correctly, are not a discipline problem, are always respectful of the teacher and others. My teachers never knew however, outside of the relief that felt at my good behavior, when others however were being disrespectful of me, hurting me.

    I don’t know what kind of family environment your student comes from, whether she is an only child, has not been socially trained in how to have and be a friend, or comes from a family where she’s criticized, and made to feel unworthy. And if she was like me, she can learn to be socially acceptable, but at a cost. Sometimes the cost is butting your head against the brick wall of acceptance until you know what to do and not do and you learn by negative experiences how to get the positive acceptance you desire. On the other hand, sometimes the cost is deadly and the person may go inward. And this is the one you have to watch. Whenever your focus is on you and you keep getting negatively reinforced, at some point you grow to hate yourself because you begin to see yourself as having no value. You feel miserable most of the time, feel depressed most of the time and to get free of this feeling the danger is that you feel you feel you have to get rid of you.,

    Depending on the youngsters resilience, or lack of it, spiritual training or lack of it, a potentially grave situation could occur.

    And to think it could be prevented by, as you have said Judy, having eyes to see. What should you do? Pray, which is a given and follow what God says. If you are led to begin to reach into the heart of the matter in a way that the whole class could benefit, here are some ideas. Bring up ways that people make you run from them as a class devotional writing topic. Discuss it. Then bring up the qualities that make you love being around certain people. Write about it. Discuss it. Then have students write about where they feel they fit in the two positions. Engage them to write about how they would advice the person who runs them off, to begin to change. Have writing topics that tell the type of family they come from, how they are treated, disciplined, taught. You’ll begin to get abetter picture of what other things may be addressed in making all students sensitive to each other. This shouldn’t be something done daily, but enough that students can become other-centered instead of self-centered.

    Have them sit next to someone they don’t know well and work to solve group problems. Make your class a class where everyone feels like family. I know this sounds like therapy and it is, but it doesn’t have to negate the educational goals as you get to know one another.

    If there is anything here that you can use I hope you will. I want to say a whole lot more, but can’t right now. Just know there are ways to intervene in a situation like this.

    Perhaps I’ll join the dialogue a bit latter.

    I just want to tell you that someone is addressing the topic of seeing enough to care, seeing enough to act in love, and I thank you for sharing.

  4. by Brenda Blanchard

    On February 28, 2013

    I have thought about this devotional several times since I first heard it at the CWG meeting. It truly is thought-provoking. Thank you for your honesty in telling the story. You touched me.

  5. by Judy Watters

    On March 1, 2013

    Thanks, Brenda. That’s what a devotional should do…stay with us for days and lead us to make a change for God’s glory.

  6. by Judy Watters

    On March 1, 2013

    Thanks Al.

  7. by Judy Watters

    On March 1, 2013

    The class is small and most of the students have been together since early elementary. Great suggestions, Wanda.

  8. by Judy Watters

    On March 1, 2013

    Yes, you are right Lil. Thanks

  9. by Alma

    On March 4, 2013

    Great devotional, Judy. Thank you for sharing it.

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