Missing Jesus

This is a picture of a stadium filled with women waiting for Jen Hatmaker to appear and speak.

This is a picture of me preaching recently at a church near us. (No, I didn’t move in. Those are props).

Looks pretty bleak, eh? There might have been 65 people in the congregation.

The guy doing the slides forgot to start and then kept clicking through trying to find the right one to fit with what I was saying. Just a tad distracting for those listening.

I’ve been a guest preacher here before, and there’s usually a young man with some challenges who burps loudly when I preach.

They had cobbled together my lapel mic which didn’t have a clip to attach, so it fell apart towards the end of my sermon. But hey, it was good practice for my ninja-like reflexes.

Yep, me and Jen…

Then, last Sunday I preached at different church, but it looked pretty much the same. Afterwards I was expecting out-of-town guests for brunch at home, about half an hour away, so I was anxious to bolt out the door at the end of the service.

So anxious that I blew off Jesus in my rush to exit.

After realizing who I missed, this is what I wrote in my journal:

Jesus, You were there yesterday! After worship You came up to me and awkwardly requested “a conference”. 

You looked like a crazy old man…kind of like a mad scientist with wispy white hair growing places where hair shouldn’t grow.

I had talked to You before and in my mind labeled you a little “off”.

Because I didn’t recognize You, and because I had to hurry home to prepare for guests coming for brunch, I said, “I’m so sorry, I have to go…” (READ: I have more important commitments with sane people.)

You handed me an offering envelope and asked if I could send you my sermon transcript. 

Later in the afternoon after my guests were gone, I thought, “What if it had been Bill Hybels who had stopped me?” Would I have rushed off, or would I have made time? What if it had been Jesus?

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

Oh Lord, have mercy. Please forgive me. Help me to be present to You, to the Imago Dei in each person I encounter today.

 

6 Comments

  1. I’m sure many (including myself) are guilty of the same thing! And sadly, it’s those who take more time to work up the courage to approach, who we are most likely to rush past. May The Lord forgive us all and help us to see as He sees. Thank you so much, dear Laura, for your candid reminder.

    • Sot agree, Marcia. A mentor of ours reminds us, “The more well-known you become, the more slowly you need to walk through a room.”

  2. When I moved from Atlanta to Minneapolis with zero friends and newly “retired” I had time to just “be”. Very humbling to realize I had been so busy and focused on what’s next, (working full time coaching 2 All-Star teams and running a University cheer and Dance program, super involved with the middle school at our church etc ) that I too never met Jesus when he reached out. I had a few days during those first couple months after I moved alone again with the Lord where I realized how badly I missed him… and how I had been “missing” him for a while.

  3. Thanks for being real Laura, we’ve all been in this place, and I don’t mean speaking in a large stadium…

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