Judy lives within walking distance of our church. With a history of medical and emotinal problems her appearance and mannerisms can cause some to avoid her…but Jesus sent her here.
She typically would come in for the Sunday evening coffee before the Bible study and had the appearance of a street person collecting bottles for a few dollars. Her clothes were baggy, her hair was unruly, and her fingers were stained with nicotine from all the cigarettes she’s smoked.
Never judge a book by its “cover,” she is very friendly, out going, and always asks how I am doing, how my family is, and sometimes falls asleep in the study probably because of her meds.
As we prepared for our Easter choir, Judy asked if she could “sing with us.” She would probably be the last person I would choose to be in our worship choir…but Jesus sent her here. I said yes…I knew Jesus sent her here to be loved, honored, and given a place of acceptance in a Church that shadows her apartment building.
Judy is not a very good singer as I found out, but this was not about her vocal ability. The ministry to her was more important than the ministry through her. Ministry is ultimately about people, not our pre-planned programs. It points hearts to Jesus, and we get to serve them.
Something sweet happened as Judy practiced with us…she made 8 weeks of practice, some ladies cut her hair and helped her prepare for Easter Sunday, and now Judy as an evangelist will be brining other folks from her building to sing with the choir later this year. Jesus is sending them here, through Judy.
I learned that Judy was the valedictorian of her graduating class, she suffered under an abusive husband, some of her kids were taken away from her and she has never seen them and does not know where they are. She is all alone and could easily be forgotten in a sea of other hurting elderly people with mental and emotional needs. She loves to sing for sure, and Jesus sent her here.
Judy taught me a few things…
- Love those who are often viewed as unlovable, they may be in your very own neighrborhood … thats what Jesus does.
- Ask someone “their story” and don’t judge a book by its cover.
- Be prepared to see that ministry “to a person” is more important than “through a person.”
- Be an instrument of redemption to honor, help, and serve those in simple acts of respect that bridge your faith practically into other peoples lives.
Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40
Jesus sends the least, the last, and the lost to us everyday…what will we do?