You know when you have picked up a great story to read, because you think about it all day long. Phrases and scenes pop up in your head like a neon sign, and characters become so real you would think they could sit at your table and join you in a cup of coffee. A good story changes you. You are one person on the first page, and by the time you reach the last, you have been transformed. And I love this. I love good books, and I love great stories. And I long to be constantly transformed into someone better than I was when I pulled that book off of the shelf.
I am nearly finished with Mercy In the City, by Kerry Weber. This book, like most of my favorite books, was a gift from a friend. It is about a young, single woman's quest to complete the Corporal Works of Mercy during the season of Lent. It is funny, it is real, it is thought provoking. And it has had me contemplating, "How merciful am I?"
I mean, when push comes to shove, when it is not Lent, or good deeds to cross off of a list, am I merciful?
When no one is looking, and nobody sees, am I showing mercy?
Kerry goes out of her comfort zone when it comes to mercy.
She spends a night...a full night...at a homeless shelter.
She wakes at ungodly hours to stand on a bread line with the truly hungry.
She opens her house to anyone...and I mean anyone...
and I do not know that I could do this.
With my life as it is, a mother of many and a household to run, I physically and logistically do not know how I can do this.
As I write, an old friend in need of a place to stay, who went to bed not feeling well, sleeps in the office.
And the coffee maker, after painfully giving birth to one last lukewarm, pathetic cup of coffee, died on me.
And as I type this, a little boy makes his way down the stairs, sleepy eyed, and will no doubt, want to be fed shortly.
The same little boy who woke me out of a dead sleep at 2am for a drink.
We think, and by we I mean me...that in order to do great things, to please God, to truly prove our love for Him, our efforts need to be huge, our acts of mercy off the charts impressive.
And that is only a sign of how little I know, understand and trust my God.
He knows my heart.
He knows what I am capable of.
And He gives me a mustard seed.
It really isn't about impressing Him with my works, but simply that I not forget Him in all that I do, and that I take action in any small way that this exhausted mom can.
You see, I believe there is opportunity for me to be mercy nearly every second of my God given day.
Fasting for others.
Caring for the sick.
Giving shelter to the homeless.
Drink to the thirsty.
Feeding the hungry.
I am not on a breadline.
I am not in a homeless shelter.
But I am alive today, and I will encounter many people, in my own home, and out on the streets.
People I love, people I do not know, people that annoy me, people that I would rather not run into at all.
And so this is my prayer for today:
I pray I do not ignore, close my eyes, or walk away from the simple mercy moments God gifts me with.
Because they are there. They are right here.
It is entirely up to me to recognize them, and respond.
It is up to me to see Jesus in everyone, and to be mercy.