This week we have the privilege of sharing an #IKnowHim story that many of us can relate to in one way or another. As you read Sydney’s story, we encourage you to think about which participant you might have been in life: the individual that gives time and love to someone in need, or have you ever been on the receiving end of such a gift? Maybe you have had the honor of experiencing both? We would love to hear from you, share your experiences with us in the comment section of this post!
My I Know Him story is an on-going journey that’s been lifelong. I grew up in a home in which Jesus was worshipped, and my parents taught us from our earliest years how much He loved us and sacrificed for us to know Him. Some of my first memories of knowing God came through the example of my Mom’s love, beginning when I was a very young girl. My Mom has this beautiful, extraordinary way of befriending people who could easily be written off in the eyes of the world. People no one else notices become the apple of her eye – the recipients of living water for which they didn’t even know they were thirsting. Some of these women have been oppressed, abused, and acquainted with great evil – yet they learn the gentle and fierce love of Christ and how He’s been searching for them – across her dining table or in a bible study she prepares and goes through together with just that one.
As a child, these acts of her sitting and sharing her time and loving people who were lost, searching, and in need moved me in a profound way. There is something so powerful about sitting across the table from someone who is desperate for the hope of Jesus Christ, and being the person who steps into what can seem like a mess in order to introduce them to that Hope. As I grew older, those examples became so personal realizing that Jesus did the same and more for me. He stepped into the mess to suffer the consequence of my sins and die in my place. In addition to the act of saving my life, He prepared His time and His love as gifts which I desperately needed, and still need every day. And He has helped me to see that some of the places I can know Him most deeply are at the tables which He would sit, lovingly going after just that one.
In Matthew 25 we read, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.'”
In a world cursed – compounded, muddied, and bleeding with sin – people are starving for the Good Word. We can take on the yoke and heart of that Good Word – Jesus Christ. Saying “I know Him. I was lost and lonely but I can help show you the way to wholeness, because He has restored me, and He can give you restoration and fullness of life too!”
It would absolutely be more convenient to live life with only people and comforts we’ve always known, never opening our lives to those who might make us feel out of place. But Christ lived a new adventure each day by being prayerful and ready to meet with the needs of humanity by lovingly engaging the next person searching for Him with truth and grace.
Jesus came that all men might be saved, and understanding that truth can’t help but fill my heart with gratitude for His gift of salvation, then shifts my focus outward, and makes each breath weighty, each meal meaningful, each minute urgent in giving the gospel to searching people. He loved others beyond any fear or insecurity about what the world thought, though it pressured Him and scoffed at how he spent His time with people viewed as unworthy. He saw past each of our shallow labels and masks we’ve chosen to wear, and loved and shared the same good news with every man and woman He encountered – including you and me.
He knew we would murder Him, and still He sat at the table for a meal and conversation with us. How can I be unwilling to do the same?
Knowing Jesus corrects my perspective – helping me remember my own desperate need for Him, and equips me to provide for needs while sharing the Good Word with those searching for Him – so that they might come to know the power of His extravagant love and redemption in their lives too.
I came to know him initially as a little girl, but He’s showing me that I get to know Him more and more as I choose to walk in step with His Holy Spirit, watching for that next opportunity to sit at the table with one more person, just like Jesus did for me.
Sydney Clark is a Texas girl who has served the Panhandle in ministry for 8 years with her husband, and stays home raising their 3 awesome kiddos. She loves Jesus and His Church, and enjoys writing, singing, and all things artsy.