“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” -- Matthew 13:45-46 NIV
It's a gray day as I sit at Fair Fellow, watching the passers-by outside hustling through the mist. And here I am, contemplating a pearl of matchless value, the merchant who sold all to possess it, and you. And me. Do I get it? Do you get it? This Jesus-life, this Kingdom, this family of the Spirit -- it's worth so much more than anything else. My dreams, in comparison, are pasty and weak. My greatest ambitions are blah. But this. This! Following Jesus is worth a whole lot more than I've put into it so far. Which is fine, because His grace welcomes me and receives me and makes me worthy. But He is worth even more! So. Much. More.
Today is a gray day, and all the people passing by are wrapped up in sundry issues of life -- some momentous, others minuscule. Watching the scene from where I sit, it's hard to believe that I am celebrating an event of great significance and wonder. It's a bit surreal. Twenty-four hours ago, Paul and Debbie signed a contract to lease the Merchant Building on 605 S Peoria. They will take possession of it on February 1. Thirteen days. What an answer to prayer! As I walked across downtown yesterday, I thought about the countless prayers I've uttered over the years, for just such a thing as this. An accessible prayer room in the heart of the city. A place of hospitality for the poor and the homeless. A place to invite others into. A place of worship and healing and friendship and safety and prayer and discipleship and unity. The Father is faithful. Some of you have been praying for this too -- and more. Paul and Debbie have been praying for years as well. And here it is. My heart is overflowing with gratitude. What a good Father!
And what an opportunity! The Father is inviting us -- calling us, maybe even pleading with us -- to step ever deeper into His work of bringing restoration and healing and salvation and compassion to our city. I know we can't do much. We're few. Our resources are limited. We're weak and we're busy and we're stretched and we have families and jobs and kids and RESPONSIBILITIES. For crying out loud.
I imagine the Father taking stock of all the above, along with the challenges that lie ahead for each of us of which only He is currently aware, and then He simply smiles, assures us that He's considered it all, and continues to wait for our response.
The truth is, in the big picture of things, He doesn't need a whole lot. A dash of willingness will be enough to start. He'll take it from there. A mustard seed's worth of faith. Showing up on a Sunday and having a conversation with a stranger. Remembering to pray for her during the week. Maybe after a few conversations, and a few more prayers, sending a text. Maybe offering a ride somewhere after worship. Maybe eventually... Well, who knows where the Lord will take us if we're willing?
There's some work to be done on the building, but it should be ready and open soon. I'll keep you posted. One of the things we want to do before long is gather to pray over the space. And, of course, we should be meeting there on Sundays in the near future as well.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.