We want Him to conform to our limited ideas of who He is because we’re scared of letting Him be I AM. –Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
Just a couple of weeks ago I was leaving a church function with my daughter-in-law Katie and my 7-year-old daughter Bella. As we walked to our cars, we saw a homeless man laying in front of the store next to the church. It was cold out, and the man had no blankets no gloves. He was thin, and I wondered if he’d eaten.
I glanced at him and quickly looked away. Then Bella and I got into my car, and we watched my daughter-in-law Katie get into hers. I started to pull out when I thought about the Good Samaritan. Was I really going to leave church (leave my “ministry” work) and just leave that man laying there?
I called Katie’s cell phone. “We have to do something,” I said.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Katie answered.
Bella and I ran into Walgreens to buy a hat, gloves, scarf and food. We met Katie who had two blankets in her car. With tentative steps I approached the man, laying our gifts before him. “Sir, I thought you might be able to use these things, God bless you.”
He barely glanced up, and I hurried away. I didn’t want a big show. I just wanted to help.
There was nothing good or attractive about the man, but I felt God’s pleasure as I started my van and drove away. And that’s when I realized the key to extending God’s love to hard-to-love people. The key is something Nike’s know for a while: Just do it.
Just buy the meal.
Just offer the blanket.
Just listen to the story.
Just take off your coat and hand it over.
We can do these things, because we have Jesus in us. He loved so we loved. Christmas wasn’t about who Jesus was … but who He is: the great I AM. The one who provides everything we have and enables us to give.
In the book of John, Jesus offers 7 “I AMs”:
I am the bread of life. (John 6:35, 48, 51)
I am the light of the world. (John 8:12)
I am the door of the sheep. (John 10:7, 9)
I am the good shepherd. (John 10:11, 14)
I am the resurrection, and the life. (John 11:25)
I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
I am the true vine (John 15:1, 5)
So many times at Christmas we focus on the baby in the manager. Instead, we need to see Jesus as the one who provided everything we need. He is the great I AM, enabling us to love and to give even when it’s not comfortable.
And does my story end there? No.
Just last Sunday I was sitting in church when my daughter-in-law motioned to the back. “There he is. That’s our homeless man.” He’d come to church, and my hope is that He would discover where all good gifts came from—through Jesus. But I also liked to think that us showing even those small steps of love helped to get him through the door.
Jesus, I AM, is the one who loves through us … drawing others to seek Him in ways we’d never expect.