What is the currency being shuffled here? Souls.
See in the midst of all of this I am dealing with people, souls, as siblings Jack and Glory Boughton put it in Robinson’s book Home. The inconvenience to me, my nurse, and the transport officers settles down around people, inmates, who need care but are also jerked and tugged by a system. Of course, they will be dismissed by some. “They are in jail, after all, doc.” Or, “They have nothing but time.” See in my mind I know these are not arguments which have much weight in God’s eyes. They are still people, souls, with needs who are jerked around by many, many things.
I think the officer left with that chart or charts. I went off and saw the other patients. Usually, the tech works up patients, but she was doing testing on other inmates. All the way till I left there was a running battle. The battle, praise the Lord, stayed on the inside. I still listened to the stories. I made my engines cool down to make sure I was getting their needs addressed. They did not have any inordinate wants that day, but often there are interest stories inmates wish to tell, and one fellow had a longish one, one that caused him to stop on the way out the door.
All through these events, the Holy Spirit was reminding me, “They are souls, Lane. By taking care of them, you are taking care of my projects. Tile may be the project you are fired up by, but people (you too) are what I care most about.” I am confident that I did the right thing by God, by the inmates, and in view of the staff and my techs. The mood, though, well, it was dim for hours. The tile walls, even though I left later than I hoped, did come down by dinner time that day. My daughter got her iPod, and late arriving inmates got the care they needed. Of course, we must not forget the lesson I had, the moment alone with God as he worked on my soul. See each of us are posters on God’s mind.
Why include that long story?
Well, it is natural to see sinfulness as mainly loose living, moral laxity. There would have been no immorality in walking out without seeing those patients. There would have been sin, though. To walk out in those circumstances would have been my putting myself above others, caring for tile more than souls, me more than God.
I include the story here because it is where the real crux of the matter inflated for my life. There a little thing became big, huge even. How would I respond? Even having done what I knew to be right did not dispel the unhappiness that roiled my mood for the rest of the day. The dust of that battle was all up in my soul.
One’s mood is some sort of mental byproduct, but people (me) are not improved by trying to make their mood. People are made by following the Lord. Maturity and improvement, godliness and impact grow up from moments like this.
I don’t know your’s but am weighed down by mine. I believe that God will work out all these things for his own ends. I also believe that I will find a happily-ever-after, the “Hollywood ending” as some put it, by living God’s way. It is hard to bring his new way of things, the eternal way, to the present, but I hope and pray to keep doing so. Another verse comes to mind in this context.
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20–NIV)
Until doing this lesson that verse was a verse for Paul, but not for Lane. That is different now. The verse has been given a personal meaning. With that let us move back toward today’s passage and the first century.