open door

George never chose the easy route. Probably because he understood the concept of sacrifice.

And George is one of my heroes. And he’s my hero mainly because the word sacrifice summarises the last 10 years of his life.

George would want me to tell you that he’s a farmer. He would beg me to share how he doesn’t have a third level education. He would shout about how he is just an ordinary man.

And he is.

But I want to use him as an example of a sacrificial life.

George’s door was always open to us. You never had to knock and you never left without a big hug. He cared. He shared. He was there.

A decade ago, George converted his big double garage. When I was beginning to lead worship, he allowed us to come every week to practice. The sound must have been terrible and the noise difficult to put up with, but George didn’t just tolerate it, he loved it! He used to come into those practices to just stand and worship with us! What an encouragement!

And how we loved the toast and biscuits every week too!!

And then afterwards there were nights where we didn’t leave until 2am. This farmer, who would glimpse the morning in just 4 hours time, refusing to kick us out but giving us the message that he was here for us at any moment of the day.

How we need people to be encouragers and enthusiasts to us as we walk the narrow road of being a representative of Jesus.

And so in this mission of representing Jesus through our lives, we desperately need people who will spur us on and inspire about this Jesus were following, as well as reminding us constantly about our calling.

We need to invite these people around for dinner. We should allow them to speak truth and wisdom into our lives. And ask them to pray for us regularly. Their urging, cheering, inspiring and encouraging is vital to our survival on this narrow road.

But perhaps we also need to play the encouraging and enthusiast role to others around us.

You see, so many of us are delighted that Jesus walked the hard way of the cross but we refuse to follow His footsteps in it.

We celebrate how His pain replaces what we deserve but think that gives us an exemption from any pain in our own lives.

We rejoice in the sacrifice of Jesus but try and avoid it for ourselves at all costs.

“It’s too much hard work.”
“It’s tiring.”
“I haven’t had my dinner yet.”
“But I earned that money.”
“It will put my reputation on the line.”

I’ve just had lunch with someone whose life is sold out to following Jesus by being a friend of sinners. He shares his musical tastes with the punk rockers on the street corners. He spends holy time every week with school drop outs. He invites street footballers into the middle of his church Bible study to drink hot chocolate and eat donuts.

Nothing revolutionary. Nothing new. Nothing fresh.

Just love, friendship, grace and acceptance.

Sounds to me a bit like Jesus.