This post was originally published on January 10, 2009. Access to this spot has since been closed for safety reasons, but we minister to people when we created treasured moments for them. Emma is now nine years old and going into fourth grade but still remembers going to the “beach.”
Most of us who grew up in New Orleans can remember Pontchartrain Beach. It was a place of fun and wonder for kids and adults alike. The Zephyr, Wild Mouse and, of course, the Beach are gone. The “Beach” bit the dust more than two decades ago. There is, however, a small remnant of the fun that still exists, and that’s where the treasure is found.
It is located across Lakeshore Drive from UNO. The small strip of sand and crumbling relic of what’s left of the “Ragin Cajun” still remain. A few days ago my grandaughter, Emma, wanted to go to the beach and collect some treasures- just little pieces of sea shells and even rocks that she considers pretty. It seems that long ago I stopped collecting treasures, but it is amazing what a three year old will motivate you to do. Our adventure called for the finest of supplies, a shovel, bucket, beach towel and some water so we wouldn’t die of thirst. We searched for an hour and excavated many unknown areas and found a jar full of treasures.
Now what does this have to do with being missional ? It’s real simple.There are people everywhere who need a treasure in their lives . Treasure is time you spend with them,kind words you say to them and small things you do for them. The real key is not what we do, but why we do it ? Jesus said, ”I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” The missional suggestion is to create a treasure for someone.
- Buried Treasure on the beach (nglarchivesandspecialcollections.wordpress.com)
I am the kind of person who likes to have things figured out ahead of time. That’s my style and I can be a little stubborn about it. I wonder if that a good thing for a Missional Christian? Let look to see how God handled people like me in the Bible. let’s pick three, Moses, Jonah and Peter.
Moses-Long before God had tapped Moses for his mission to lead His people out Egypt Moses had begun his own freedom movement. After seeing one of his fellow Jews being mistreated by an Egyptian he killed the Egyptian. The result. Moses had to live in hiding and exile for 40 years. Moses did it his way. When he submitted himself to God at the burning bush he became the leader of the nation.
Jonah-As soon as he received God’s call to preach to the people of Nineveh, Jonah ran away because he knew that “those people” were not worth his effort. After spending three days in the belly of the fish Jonah led one of the most dramatic revivals in history.
Peter- He was just a simple fisherman who just didn’t seem to know when to keep his mouth shut. In his time he had a tendency to talk BIG but on the night that Jesus was condemned he didn’t talk so big. Jesus later confronted him and he expressed sorrow for his denial. After that experience with Jesus he seemed to know when to talk big and when to be silent.
The point is simple. When we encounter God -things are different. It doesn’t matter that we have everything figured out. When we allow God to speak, and we really listen, things are just different. As Missional Christians we have to be forever aware of the still small voice of God prodding and poking us every moment of the day. He has a message for you. Please listen and things can be so different.
Everyone is in love with one word. We love our own name. Being noticed or acknowledged is important. Learn a person’s name and use it-more than once. Try to learn their name well enough remember it the next time you meet. People feel astonishingly important when someone remembers their name.
Listen to others. Let them tell you about themselves. Remember the details so you can ask about them next time you meet. I read of a successful businessman that remembered details about the lives of many people. He kept a file on 3×5 cards with names of children, spouses, family situations, etc. He knew how important they would feel when he asked specific questions. Is it any wonder he was so successful?
That’s just business stuff you say. The Bible says: “I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face. Peace to you. The friends send you their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by NAME.” (3 John 1:13-15)
Learn someone’s name this week.
- The cashier
- The waitress
- The person you pass when walking
- The school crossing guard
- The garbage collector
- The person at church who sits “over there”
If you learn someone’s , you give them an identity. God knows you “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5
One of the best things about riding a bicycle around town is that you get to observe things up close and personal. Bike riding puts you in the middle of the action. You can smell the smells, feel the heat and hear the sounds you miss in your car.
In a recent ride along Bayou St. John I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings swimming in the bayou. I stopped as she came on shore and began to lead them to a new spot. One of the ducklings began to lag behind the group and suddenly the volume of her “quacks” went up to an ear crushing sound. Sure enough the little slacker knew that it was a signal to speed up and catch up. He did and the rhymic quacking continued as they moved to a place to rest.
You may ask, how can this relate to the missional practice of a Christian?
Let’s think about that for a moment.
The ducklings began as a unit. It was not the mother duck that left the duckling behind but the duckling that moved slower than the rest.
—The mother duck had the best and the brightest duckling right behind her.
—The slacker was slowing down the journey.
—The slacker caused the mother to expend more energy.
What missional points can we gleam from this little story?
—We must allow for those who don’t follow the crowd.
—We must set the pace of our journey so that all can travel.
—We must expend energy and time to help those who are less motivated.
Remember we are called to care for each other as we are on the journey.