Bring the image of Christ to a person, follow the instructions of Him, demonstrate His Light in every essence of your life even in the face of resentment, ridicule, hatred, misunderstanding, and you offer the essence of Christ as a witness to that person. Maybe not visible today, but even as a seed to spring into a beautiful garden at some later date.
Understand everyone gets an opportunity to turn toward or away from the Light at one key moment in their life, many have a few chances, some have a couple, everyone is guaranteed at least one.
There is that point in which the key moment comes, and I believe it is what Jesus said in Mark, “if they shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake the dust under their feet…”
At which point is enough, enough? When do you get to say good bye, when do you leave and shake the old sandal’s? When has God give a man His last chance?
I don’t know how he applies this Word to everyone else, but so has He spoken it to me;
On two separate incidents I have heard Him as clear as day regarding the passage above.
I knew a man, a man I loved, who seemed to love me, more of a Father then my own had treated me most of my life. When you see many of same qualities in someone you respect, those you hopefully wish to stare back out at you in the mirror, it is tough not to love them.
Maybe seeing those qualities you hope for in yourself, coupled with the success and popularity you have now doubt admitting he possesses, it becomes easy to disregard and maybe even turn a blind eye to some of those qualities that deserve less respect. So was the trap I fell in, for he was also a very wealthy man.
I once heard someone say; “we are all poor in the eyes of our Lord”.
I believe the opposite is true as well, we are all wealthy, but the test lies in when we feel ourselves truly rich, and what effect does it have on us.
Jesus Himself said; “It is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle, then for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
One day when all of my world was crashing around me, my would-be father was having a difficult time distinguishing between giving advice and attempting to continue his feeding need to control every aspect of those around him.
He turned to me after a long period of silent contemplation and said; “So how is this God thing working for you?” For it must have become clear to him, that my source of advice, I no longer sought from him, and decisions would be honored based on God, rather then his suggestions.
A simple response was given, falling mostly upon deaf ears because when I said; “Good, I believe?” His response of; “Well let me tell you about God,” was offered so quickly that I was left wondering if the sound of my response even had time to reach his ear yet.
He quickly followed, as if some kind of qualifier was needed; “I have been more times to church then you will ever go, or ever will, even for the rest of your life.”
And while I’m not particularly sure if that statement was presented for my behalf, or possibly as a half baked attempt at self persuasion, I knew from experience he hadn’t seen the inside the church in over eleven years. that being said, the tone was certainly filled with malice and anger that left a person with the deep routed feeling, that if a gun was in the room, I’d be staring down the barrel at this moment.
He casually continued, as his gaze turned away in contemplation; “I’ve given God all I am going to give! You know, you never can tell when you put the money in the dish, if it even makes it to the end of the pew, in stead of in the offering!”
A full swig of his mid day booze, and he suddenly stops rocking and turns his angry, and I may add, hideous gaze directly on me, to ask the question that has been assigned to him for at least the last month. The one that has been whispered in his ear like the subtle scents of a filthy cancer; “I guess you have to decide; do you want to listen to me or God?”
The answer flowed from my lips with such ease; “God!”, that the words hardly felt like breath, as much as the latent extension of thought, or maybe a realized flash of my heart. Either way he his face stones over, a scowl deepens the crevices that already line his face, his eyes darken in reflection of a heart I had never seen, and as suddenly as he spoke he turns his chair to show me only his back.
All I can do is get up, leave the room, and go pack my things.
Immediately the air of the entire house was so heavy I could hardly breath, a suffocating pressure descended on me like the weight of a hundred feet of dark dirty ocean, there was a dark gloom that settled where I never sensed before, but maybe resided just out of view, scratching the edge of my sanity, making me wonder how I could not have seen it all weekend, all those years, perhaps for the past eleven years. All I could think about was getting my children out of there as fast as I could.
How much money does a man horde, how many cars does he hide from view, how many praises does he eat feeding the fat of his pride, before he begins to change?
How many trophies to notch on his belt, how many women to kiss his feet, how many lives has his greed ruined, before he stops loving even himself?
How many dead heads on his wall, how many slaves bowing in servitude, how many words offered in ridicule, for no good other reason then to build his own falling ego?
How many pieces of silver……. before the rich man begins to forget that everything he has received is a gift, none of which he earned with any talent he came up with on his own?
No!, they were all granted him from above, merely to stewart over, merely to use to bless in the same way he was blessed?
When in his life does somehow begin to feel; he somehow deserves it, was guaranteed it, entitled to it?
When does the money, the power, the pride become more important then God?
I think at about the Thirty Pieces of Silver Mark!
Riches are relative.
I know another man, a good man who is considered by his peers to be one of the riches men of his land. He is a wealthy land owner, his wife a daughter of royalty, healthy beautiful children all enjoying the best their land has to offer, he even thrives to the point of providing superior education outside his land, that is not offered or available to most of the others of his home.
His children know who their father is, and have never doubted he loves them, not because he only tells them, or because of what he buys them, but mainly because he would rather spend time with them, then any other activity he knows.
Money is never an issue, he has all he needs to the point where he must give away his excess just so it won’t spoil.
Rich? Yes and No.
This man lives in a grass hut, he rarely wears shoes, the comforts most the poorest in our country take for granted, such as hot water, indoor plumbing, a stove under roof, a TV, even running water at hand is a luxury he must walk five hundred feet to collect in his large plastic bucket.
An inside toilet does not exist, nor a walled divider between his children and himself as he sleeps at night.
But this man knows where his riches come from, he knows Who has given him more then he could ever want, he knows Who he is responsible to, Who loves him, Who he loves, Who saved him, and Who he bows down to…. gladly!
What chances has this rich man of entering the kingdom of God?
My friend Atu, of whom I pray I will be fishing with off the shores of Fiji for all eternity, because his treasure is kept up in heaven.
I may not know much, but one thing I know; as I walked out of the home of my would-be-father, I heard God as clear as I have ever heard a single spoken word; “Don’t forget to shake the dust off your feet”
The second incident happened only days ago.
Sitting at a table playing cards with my friends, the conversation suddenly moves in a direction I wouldn’t expect.
First being a practitioner of health care and attempting to blend faith in a private practice, leaves a person sometimes giving the impression that; “the act of giving” is something we do as a practice more then the usual everyday business.
I mean if you are going to at least attempt to show the Face of Christ, then you shouldn’t say no to people who ask? I mean it goes with the territory, at least that is what people think.
And to a degree that is true, for; “Freely I have been given and freely I should give” that is a basis in which I have tried to live. It is also the basis in which we have re-dedicated the practice, we give people what they need even when it surpasses what we know we will be reimbursed by the insurance carrier.
People run out of authorized visits or flat out don’t qualify, or maybe get denied for no reason, or turn out to not have insurance at all when they think they do, mainly through the greed of the insurance demon (future article), well then we treat them for free. If they can afford to pay something they do, but in this day and age, most can’t afford even their co-pay, so as a result, we have a fairly large contingency that treat for free.
What does it matter, I pay my staff to be there, it doesn’t cost me more if we treat ten people or fifteen.
So the solution; “Give as the Holy Spirit dictates”, that means reduced costs for some, free for others, try to give according to those their need, what ever their need, and not just their greed. Plus the gift being the entire Christian environment far exceeds only a basic physical therapy application.
But then there is always those who want to take advantage of this generosity.
So as I was saying;
I’m sitting at the table with my friends, and one of the guys calls me out right in front of the others; “Hey I got a bill from your daughter for the Physical Therapy services?”
“Yes I heard, she told me that the visits you received were all applied to your Deductible?” I said, well aware of the situation, my daughter already was telling me that the majority of the guys that come in, saying they are my friends, not wanting to pay for their services.
Now in their defense, I will tell people they can come an try it a time of two at no initial cost to them, partially just to prove it will help, but mainly as a ministry; to get them in for any other possible healing of the mind, body, or spirit that might occur, being up to the Spirit. Nobody ever seems to have an issue letting us bill the insurance.
But typically if someone comes in really hurt, as this particular man definitely was, suffering in this case from a separated shoulder, and then was wanting to receive treatment that he would have received somewhere else anyway, especially when he was trying to avoid surgery, the talk of free treatment usually goes out the door. Basically there is no more discussion of whether or not they need the treatment, the only question is how many?
The great part about this guy was not only did he get better, he received healing in only three visits! Which was definitely a miracle! I mean, I have never seen someone get back to BMX motocross levels function, commenting on immediate relief of pain and direct increase of ability almost directly after the first visit, especially with a separated shoulder, a clear separation of the acromionclavicular joint, then getting back on the motorcycle in just three visits!
But then to hear him say; “I don’t think I should have to pay?”
Even when I explained to him; “You realize your whole bill was applied to deductible? They paid us nothing? You knew you had a deductible, you know you would have to pay that anywhere else you go, what did you think, you shouldn’t have to pay anything?”
He just sat there with an angry look on his face and said; “When you told me you would work with me, that’s what I figured?”
At this point the thought of being used wasn’t bad enough, I mean if the guy had no money I could understand, but he brags regularly about all the money he makes flipping in this market, and all I could think of was the fact that I haven’t had enough revenue in the office for the last two months to pay myself a cent, for the last four pay periods!
Living off of savings is one thing, and working for free to help people who can’t even make their co-payments, well that is a way of building a treasure in heaven, at least that’s what I feel, but giving free treatment to someone who clearly has the money, that just seems wrong.
I looked at him and said a little bit challengingly; “Didn’t it help you?”
“What do you mean?” he asks a bit confused.
“Didn’t it help you, I mean only last week you were bragging about how fast you got better?”
I repeated a bit more sternly; “Did’t it help you?”
“Yes it helped, but I would have gotten better on my own even with out the treatment!” he said.
I was shocked, and said; “Your first visit you said that the Doctors told you surgery was eminent!” “You were in so much pain you couldn’t lift your arm, three visits later you are better!’
He just sat back, folded his arms, staring at me and said; “I had no intention of getting surgery, and if I knew you were going to charge me anything, I wouldn’t have come in.”
“You receive care, and you don’t feel like you should pay anything, unbelievable!” “Ok, Fine!, You know what forget it, don’t pay anything!” I said in angry shock.
“So you are saying I don’t have to pay anything?” Still staring angrily at me with folded arms.
“Yes, I guess!” I said still in shock, no more so then the other sitting at the table.
“Ok”, he said, and turned his gaze away from me.
And as clear as the first time I hear the voice of God say; “Shake the dust from your feet!”
At which point is enough, enough? When do you get to say good bye, when do you leave and shake san off the old sandal’s?
I guess for me, when He tells me to!