I am looking forward to a time of new beginnings. Our church has just elected a new pastor. I like him and his family already. They are going to be a great addition to our church and to our community. Our new pastor has compassion and vision.
As he finished up the first sermon that he delivered at church on Sunday, he stood there and he looked around and then he asked us who was missing? Who had we decided to give up on? My mind wandered and so did my glance. I turned my eyes to Jim. He was sitting a couple of rows up from my husband and me, sitting with his mother – the same mother that has asked for prayer for her son for years and years.
And I would pray. I love that boy as one of my own. And Jim . . . Jim’s not your run-of-the-mill boy. Jim’s hair hangs in long and gangly strings, blocking a clear view of his eyes. Jim isn’t really that much of a boy any more. Jim is in his early thirties, and I know that his mama has been praying him into church and fellowship with the Father for at least the fifteen years that I have known her. In all of those years that young man had not darkened the doorway to a church.
But God was moving. While his mother was on a short trip to visit Jim’s grandmother, Jim had a message from the Lord. When his mother returned from her trip, Jim told her that he heard from God and that he was going to go to church with her on Sunday. And Jim did go. Jim was present at church in flesh, heart, spirit and understanding.
God in His infinite grace and mercy broke through all of the barriers that had held Jim in such bondage. God spoke directly to Jim’s heart. After service I went to tell Jim once again how happy I was to see him. “The message,” Jim said, “It was like it was just for me. I feel like I belong, like I’m loved. I like the new pastor.” “Yeah, me too,” I beamed.
“Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.”
– I Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)
“Lord, help us to be ever mindful of the Jims in the world who are ready to belong. Please teach us to pray for the lost and to do our part helping them to find their place into God’s church. Show me right now who I can be praying for and who I can begin to encourage….”