“After this the Lord chose another seventy-two men and sent them out two by two, to go ahead of him to every town and place where he himself was about to go.  He said to them, ‘There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.  Go!'”

(Luke 10:1-3)

As you heard last week, our youth were busy on a recent mission trip.  As part of their work they transformed what you see in the first photo into this,

with a lot of this,

and a lot of this.

Our group was split into teams so while one team built this beautiful new back porch, other teams resealed the roofs of two mobile homes, completely scraped and painted a house in one day, and helped stock and organize the food pantry at our mission host’s headquarters.  I can only say, “Wow!” I was blown away by their energy, enthusiasm, drive, and compassion.  Right about now, a lot of their parents seeing this are asking, “Why can’t I get them to clean their room?”  (The same is probably asked by folks who pass my office and see the clutter.)

What motivates youth to push to their limits to help a stranger whose home is failing, yet lack the energy to straighten their room at home?  What motivates all of us to reach out to help one and yet condemn another?  It occurs to me that a big part of it might lie in seeing the need.  My office is filled with toys and interesting “stuff” to engage children and adults, along with drums, books, and several tubs filled with materials for my teen depression ministry.  I know where almost everything is and have a need for all of it from time to time.  Yet, I know there are some who walk by my open office door and cringe, because they can’t stand the clutter — and don’t see the need behind it all.

Sometimes it’s easy to see the need in or for another, sometimes it’s difficult.  Sometimes our prejudices and fears distort our vision and keep us from seeing the needs of others and responding. My sense is that when most of us truly see a need we want to respond, we even jump to respond.  But we can’t respond if we just can’t see, or don’t want to see, or are afraid of what might happen if we do see.

Do you want to see, or are you content to not see the needs?  Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke that there was a need, “There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in.”  He saw the need and told us to, “Go!”  There’s a beloved old hymn that says, “Open my eyes that I may see . . .”  I’m convinced that the first step toward change, the first step toward hope, is asking God to help us see, to see the need of an other, to see the need for change in policies or systems, and to see the need for hope.  I pray that God will help me see, that I might, “Go!”  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24


~ by revgenelson on July 6, 2016.

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