Monday, May 23, 2005

Tr33top was here [for about a day]

So, a few nights ago, [Wednesday, May 18, to be exact] I got my house tagged by some low-rent, gangbanger wannabe. "Tr33top. CK-65" Whatever that means. I came home from my evening jog [I'm up to 6 miles now] and there was our local Travis County five-0 in my driveway, protecting and serving my newly violated fence. It seems that three young men, a couple cans of spray paint, and a few spare moments of free time converged on my privacy fence while I was out trying to raise my pulse. I guess I could have stayed home and done that.

I live in a decent neighborhood in north Austin [TX]. A place where families walk the neighborhoods in the evenings, kids ride bikes, people jog, etc. It's also a multi-ethnic and multi-economic clump of families. A pretty good cross section of our demographic. I had taken off on a jog in order to think and pray specifically about ways our ministry can be intentionally more missional.

I'm glad we got tagged. One of my neighbors (total stranger at the time) came by after he got off work the next night [at 9pm].

"I've got a power washer at my house. If you don't mind, I'll run home and get it and I'll wash this stuff off for you."


I was pretty dumbfounded. "Uh. Um. Well,....okay."

Austin. 9pm. A total stranger asks if he can do me a favor.

I'm feeling guilty at his offer of kindness (in Big Church we call that 'grace'), so I go out to help him. Actually, I just stand there and make with the chatter.

It turns out that he and his wife live a few doors down. They're newly married. No kids. He works at Dell and loves to fish. In my mind, I'm wondering why this guy is so nice. He's talking about work and how he sits behind a desk and how he doesn't mind getting soaked doing this because he needs the exercise.

As he works, I notice that the pressure washer is taking off the spray paint...along with the 'color' of the fence, which he explains is just mildew and my fence will look like new when he's done.

[He's right. Just like when Christ entered my life, He took away the stuff I was aware of, but He also took away the things I had grown accustomed to. All new...]

We set up a weekend to get together and cookout with the families. We talked about fishing together after he gets done with a big work project. We laughed. Told jokes. Talked about work, marriage, and adulthood. Then he asked the big question: "What do you do?"
Here it comes, I thought. Maybe this guy is a believer.

"I'm a minister."

"Oh. Cool."

"Yeah, Sunday is my only day to sleep in. And fish. Maybe you and I can go fishing after church one weekend."

And the conversation moved on.
In a sense, he really ministered to me. I was worried about how our ministry can be more missionally minded, and my seemingly lost neighbor showed me what I needed to be doing.

The Bottom Line:
What if we, The Body, intentionally spent more time and energy meeting the needs of our literal and physical neighbors vs. the etheral ones across the planet? I know I people in Sudan need Jesus, but so do the punks that tagged my fence. Have we neglected 'Jerusalem' for the sake of Samaria? And, is it possible for the unbeliever to minister to the believer? Does God use 'worldly' kindness to express grace to The Body?


At 8:15 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Cool story Tom.


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