They are the first to arrive on the scene. Pushing their way through darkness, cold, and resistance. Bright spots among dullness and litter. They defy the cold, push aside the discarded remnants of winter. Tips of green and promise amidst the gray of a long season.
The colorful splashes of spring’s flowers speak of renewal. They throw open their bright heads and chase away the gloom of a too long winter. They dance and bob on increasingly warm breezes and exhale peace and comfort into the wind.
Bright yellow warmth a top life giving green, shoulder to shoulder with broken down, jagged winter stalks.
Side by side.
These early arrivals make me think.
Those stalks they’re the wounded. The hurting, broken people that I know and hear about. People stumbling in darkness, pain, and challenges. People broken down by a long struggle. People seeking, needing, waiting to know the comfort of God.
It’s a challenge from God, I know.
Am I willing to be an early arrival. Willing to be one of the first on the scene. Giving sacrificially of my time and myself to show the love of Christ to the jagged stalks in my garden. Because they are there. The hurt is evident. The scars are visible. The winter has been long and harsh for many.
Am I willing to bring the message of LIFE. To be bold and push through the litter, the resistance, the cold. He’s calling me to bring the warmth of His love to the people I meet, the ones I know, and have known for years and yet I haven’t made the effort to offer myself.
Just this morning I was convicted of this.
We have a neighbor lady who I don’t have much contact with. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I probably have spoken ten words to her in the eleven years I have lived down the road for her. My reasons are selfish. I didn’t have time.
I didn’t make the time. I made no effort.
Last week my daughter out of the blue asked me if we could take something down to this lady. (Never before has she said anything about this lady or asked about her.) I put her off with a maybe. The horrible truth of it is she not only asked me once, but several times over several days. I hemmed and hawed.
She quit asking.
This morning I found out our neighbor lady was just diagnosed with cancer.
I know now that God was using my daughter. He wanted us to reach out. To be present. To share His love and His greatest gift with a woman who does not know Him as her Savior.
I could have been an a early arrival. I should have been an early arrival.
Today, I’m going to bring a little sunshine into a dark situation. I’m going to breathe God’s love. I will arrive with words the Holy Spirit provides me and a warm loaf of bread to show we care. Because it isn’t to late to share God’s grace, love, and comfort.
Today I’m going to be an early arrival. Showing up in time of need. I will not put it off. I will not declare that someone else will do it. I’m going to push my head through tough ground and come up with a heart and face shining with love and compassion that only Jesus can provide for me and her.
An early arrival easing a bit of the gray sadness and cold uncertainty. A messenger of Hope, Love, Mercy, Grace and Peace.
It’s what He’s called me and you to do.
Let this not be said of us.
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.
You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.
My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.” Ezekiel 34:2-6
Let’s not wait. Seasons change too quickly. Moments of opportunity too easily missed. Let’s go out and be the early arrivals in this world of the hurting, anguished, and unreached.