I met Darius on a beautiful Saturday at the ballpark. I was sitting in the front seat of my truck pulled up to face the backstop. Ah yes, front row seat. I made sure I jumped out each time Taylor was on the field or batting. Her coaches needed my additional coaching from the sidelines I was sure. It was the middle of the game when I saw a boy throwing rocks at everything including other kids. God spoke. He needs KOZ. Ugh, God, can I just watch the game?
I saw an older fellow tell him to quit a few times and I guessed it was his grandpa. Grandpa was totally immersed in the game. I guessed his granddaughter was catcher on the opposing team. I got out of the truck and walked over and introduced myself. I asked about his team, his player then the little rock thrower. He said yes he belonged to him. He apologized and I assured him I was not worried about the boy. I dug in a little more and that was when I knew why God had called me to this boy.
It can surely be an inconvenience to see a ministry opportunity and act on it. I don’t mean just acting on a need. There is more need than any of us can act on in any single day. I am talking about the ones God whispers to us in our ear. The one we drive by and have to turn around for. The one that takes away our precious time on Saturdays or evenings. The ones that cost us money we don’t think we have. The ones He whispers and we hear and know we can’t not do it.
I have said it a thousand times since I learned it. There is great and there is good. We get a handful of great opportunities to do ministry that will transform our lives and change who we are and how we do life with others and Jesus. It is a calling and He has trained us for it. Opportunities to do good can be consuming. Not that we don’t do good things everyday but we can stack on so many good chores we think are for Jesus that we are ineffective in our calling to do great things.
Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”
My background, the one that kept me from Jesus all those years, is actually what He uses today for ministry. I was living on the streets at 13. I made a lot of poor choices and I felt unworthy, broken and lonely. It was those exact things He used for His good to start the ministry of KOZ. I had walked the walk of the boys we looked for in KOZ. I knew their story and hardships. I longed for the things they long for. I found them in fellowship and Jesus.
I was a hard kid, a hardened young man. It was a selfless man who stepped in introduced me to the love of a Christian man, a church and Jesus. It made a huge impact on me. I wonder how many Christian men saw me, were around me, knew about me and decided they were not able to help. They themselves felt unworthy to do ministry, unworthy of a calling or even worse just decided that it was not their problem. Would I fit in their church community? What if I did something that would embarrass them. He did not judge me, he cared about me.
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Darius’s parents were both in jail for drugs. He had seen lots of things he should never have seen when he was little. Bloody, violent, scary, evil things. He had a hardened heart like I did. I asked Darius’s grandfather to bring him to the next KOZ. He did. I invited him to everything and his grandfather supported what we wanted to do. We climbed mountains, hunted, camped and fished. Even though he fought the demons of his early years he learned what good was, what a good man was, who Jesus was. That will never go away.
So many of the men in the church have let their edges get rounded off. Life is easy, comfortable, controlled and why take any chances or get dirty. We can’t live that way. We have to be willing to go into the den of thieves, turn over a table or two and sit with the broken and lost. It can be hard and not what we want to be doing.
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Do you even for a moment think God wanted to send His Son to experience what it was He knew would happen? No, He wanted us to do what we were supposed to do, but we couldn’t. He had to come, we have to go.
Don’t let your edges get rounded men. Mount up.