By Billy McGuinness
Last night was my life group, and, for the first time since we merged the two groups, it really felt to me like everyone was connecting. Conversations were flowing from the start and during our discussion time we hit rabbit trail after rabbit trail (the sign of a close group in my opinion).
The main topic of discussion came from a boo k our church is reading entitlted I Became a Christian and I All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt by Vince Antonucci.
This lead us to discussing our role in Gods plan. We are called to go out and touch the sick. We are called to minister to the broken. We are called to Love the Loveless. And yet somehow, something ultimately seems to hold us back from doing that.
What is it that makes us uncomfortable around people that are different from us? Why is it so hard to make simple eye contact with the person in the elevator, never mind the homeless guy on the street corner? We dont even smile at each other anymore.
Think about it: when was the last time a complete stranger smiled at you? I bet when it happened 90% of you thought something like, Wow, this guy must be some kind of crazy man. I bet he hears voices. Right? Thats the only logical solution to someone smiling at you: severe mental illness. Maybe that is the reason we’ve stopped reaching out; we are afraid of our motives being questioned.
I know for me its a little different. Perhaps its my customer service background. Perhaps its my role as director of first impressions for my church. Smiling isnt hard for me. Eye contact isnt hard for me. I know my motives are pure I know when I am smiling. If the person on the receiving end is skeptical, I guess that might reflect more on them than on myself. I am just gonna keep smiling.
Perhaps a simple smile or gesture of love is easier for me because reaching out is so much more difficult. We are called The Body of Christ, called to be His hands to reach out and touch the sick, His feet, to go and share His love through action, His mouth to speak His truth. But I’ve considered it and decided that I’d rather not be a foot or a hand or a mouth; I’d settle for God’s right butt cheek.
I keep my wallet in the right butt pocket of my shorts. I like to think that since I am made in Gods image that He keeps his wallet in the right butt pocket of His shinning white robe. You see it is easy for me to pull out my wallet and support people and ministries that are out there on the front lines.
However, it is difficult for me to get off of the couch, off of my own butt to go out and become a hand or a foot or a mouth. There is risk in putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, Loving, touching, teaching – these things are scary to me. “What if I fail?” “That’s just not my gift.” I’ve got plenty of excuses, but last time I checked through the Bible, Jesus wasn’t in the business of accepting any of them.
I developed this “butt cheek” idea when I was young. The church I grew up in was great, but I remember every time we would have one of the missionaries we supported come to the church, everyone gushed over the work they were doing.
These people were out there being the Body of Christ to those that had never known Him, and it was incredible. But there was always this sense that these people were different. I felt like I was looking at the actual disciples when I would see them, and in them, I couldn’t see myself.. They were the special ones and the average man or women couldnt do what they did. Instead, we gave them money.
Its easy to sit on the sidelines and throw money at the problem; we see it in Hollywood everyday. The reality is that the world doesn’t need us to be the piggy bank of God. The world needs more hands to work for the poor, more feet to go into the dark places, more mouths to speak truth. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
I may just be a butt right now, but I want to be more. I do believe to effectively communicate the gospel it takes the whole body. Every hand, foot, heart, mouth, eye, even butt, must work wholeheartedly to use our time, talents, and treasures to further the kingdom.
So, from a butt that wants to be a hand, how are we going to accomplish our mission?
If you liked this article, check out: The Hand that Feeds Her: Caring for the elderly
Billy is Director of First Impressions for Fellowship Church in Holden, Ma. He attempts to live life in a way that brings together being incredibly, selflessly loving with occasional forays into juvenile obnoxiousness. He is the only source of testosterone in his house that is inhabited by his incredibly loving wife Colleen, his two beautiful girls Emilie and Erynne, and a cross-eyed, deaf cat named Parsley. He even manages to maintain a Christian faith despite a job in Christian retail sales. He blogs here.