Thursday, July 19, 2012

Source of life

Nathan pointed a finger at me one morning as we sat under the canopies, enjoying on of those wonderful campish breakfasts. "Look out."

I looked down at my arm in consternation and noticed a mosquito, which I duly swatted away. "They like me," I explained. "I'm not sure why, because the feeling isn't mutual. They haven't caught on to that yet." 

Nathan laughed. And the incident closed.

Just the other morning, I stood outside waiting to close the gate behind the car as the girls and I prepared to head to work. A mosquito buzzed around me, and I swatted it away, looking in misery at the various swellings and red spots already on me. "You'd think I was the only local blood drive for these pests," I grumbled. Then the car drove through the gate, I shut it, and forgot about the incident. 

But since, I've begun to think a little bit.

I really dislike mosquitoes; however, they seem to think me sweeter than most. Due to my lack of love towards them, though, I often end their delicious repast with a heavy-handed smack. But although I don't like them, and they frankly make my life miserable, I've come to the conclusion that I can learn a lesson from them anyway.

A very, very important and eye-opening lesson.

Tuesday night, during campfire, Randy Skeete gave a dynamic (and hillarious) talk about influence. About how no one lives to himself or dies to himself. "No man is an island." In other words, no one on Earth goes through life without being some kind of something to someone.

Point taken. And I agree. 

Flicking mosquitoes away and trying to smash them before they got to me, I listened. I felt like a fuel stop; and I wasn't appreciating the nasty marks they were leaving on me. I was ready to be rid of the miserable beasts. Even so, I began to think about Pastor Skeete's point...

How many people have I influenced for the good? How many people have I reached out to and made their lives better? How many times have I been a source of life to someone who so desperately needed what I, through Christ, could give them? How many people have come looking for fulfillment by me; and how many times did I turn them down the wrong road, or crush them altogether? 

Too many.

I've often felt like being a source of life to someone else would drain me dry. It would sap every last bit of that vital current from inside me and I'd shrivel up, unable to do anything--without even the will to live. I feared that. I didn't want the marks of service to others to stain and scar my soul. Those kinds of scars hurt, sting, itch, and burn...

Do you get where I'm going yet?

Being a source of life can leave marks.........

The glow of my cell phone screen lit up my corner of the room as I lay in bed, face nearest to the open window. A cool breeze whispered through the mesh screen and lightly kissed my cheek with sweet relief from the heat of the room. And that's when I heard it... Buzzing.

I looked over at the window. Two mosquitoes buzzed back and forth in front of the screen, vainly trying to get in. I grinned. The screen was brand-new; no holes could be found in it that would fit a mosquito. I gloated in the glory of safety from becoming the buffet once again, and then forgot about the unfortunate creatures. 

Later, I looked back at that with mixed emotions. To a mosquito, I am a source of life. They're not really being bad--they're just doing what they need to to survive. I possess what they need to live: and while I'm not the only creature on Earth that has it, they still need it. In fact, without it, they will die. And thus, they try to get it wherever they possibly can. 

In the same way... and in a way that's so exact, I wonder if this wasn't the express purpose for which mosquitoes were created... I am also a source of life to humanity. 

How many times have screens...walls...kept out hungry souls in need of a Savior? How many times have I kept people at arms length, unwilling to share the blessed message I have? How many times have I kept the doors locked, unwilling to spend and be spent for the good of someone else? How many times have I opened my heart to someone and pointed them to the Savior through my actions, my life, my love? How many people have I turned away empty? How many people have worn themselves out trying to penetrate my indestructible fortress: and how many have been crushed or swatted away in cold-hearted rejection if they manage to get past at all? How many times? How many people...?

Too many.

It is my God-given duty to help those He puts in my path. I possess the saving knowledge of a come-to-Earth, crucified, risen and interceding, loving Redeemer. It is my duty to share that with those around me. God has imbued me with talents--encouragement, prayer, friendship, simply loving someone--and it is my duty to use those talents to benefit OTHERS. Not myself. Others.

I think a few things need to change. A few walls need to come down. A few people need to receive an apology. A few more lives need to be touched; a few people reconciled with. My attitude needs to change. The heavy-handed smack of rejection needs to change to an outstretched hand of love and friendship. The high walls need to be torn down, and a garden built instead of a garrison. The life-giving power God has given to me...entrusted to me... needs to be shared.

Without partiality. Without favoritism. Without bias.

It just needs to be shared.

Suddenly, the mosquito bites on my leg look a little different.

No, I can't say I'll be letting blood-thirsty insects drink me dry.

But I can say that the hum of a mosquito will never sound the same again.