Thursday, April 22, 2010

Emmanuel, Part 2

I urge you to first read the preceding post, Emmanuel Part 1. Some of you are, no doubt, anxious to step forward and somehow assure that Emmanuel will never again be alone. Well, get in line,… a very long line. Stanley and Charlene Reed long ago secured their position at the front of the line. Tom and Linda Wilson have claimed the position of "1st Alternate". In truth, Emmanuel has not been alone for years, and the reason is very instructive to each of us:

When God became very real to Emmanuel, his suffering began to have meaning, as did his service of others. He then promised God: "If you bless me and allow me to prosper, I will never allow anyone within my sphere of influence to suffer as I have." Although he was only in the fifth grade, he purposed in his mind that he would serve his fellow students, particularly the struggling, little ones. He bathed them, assisted them with grooming and their schoolwork, and washed their clothes. Without distinction, he served both poor orphans and "fee payers" (students from wealthy families who could pay school fees). He served and played for "an audience of One,” expecting nothing from anyone. However, the young fee paying students frequently spoke to their parents of the kind support they received from "this boy named Emmanuel…". Soon parents and school administrators were asking: "Who is this boy, Emmanuel, and what is he doing?”

Emmanuel is now a great, celebrated leader at Sonrise School. He now has many alternatives for lodging during school vacations. Indeed, Sonrise was "on vacation" this month, and this week I picked him up at one location and dropped him off the next day at a different location. EVERYONE is delighted and blessed by his company, and many doors are "open" to him.

This essential part of Emmanuel’s story would be completely missed and corrupted if one were to think: “Very clever, Emmanuel. Good strategy! You got the reward you were after.” But Emmanuel had no strategy, and he wasn't after anything except the heart of God. Emmanuel believes that faithfulness, service, and kindness are their own reward.

Mark 9: 33  ... Jesus asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" 34But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." 36He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

No, Emmanuel is not alone. He is not concerned about support. But there are many others, some on the streets and some even at Sonrise School, who feel very, very alone. If we are called (and indeed, we are ALL called), there are many other “Emmanuels” who we can support, and sundry ways that we can do so.