Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.
Father, thanks for the opportunity several years ago to go to downtown Indianapolis for a Prison Fellowship banquet. Several folks were singing and sharing, one of which was Kathy Troccoli (www.kathytroccoli.com). Just after I got there and found my table, I jotted a note to her and set out to find some “staff-looking” person who might deliver it to her. As I wandered around the foyer, I spotted the table for Love 98, the local Christian radio station, and You led me to check with the guy there. As I was beginning to speak to him and about to introduce myself, I heard a voice from up behind him on the stairs congenially call out, “Kathi!” I looked up to find Kathy herself! What a surprise! (How evidently YOUR timing!!!)
Stepping around to the steps, we greeted one another with a hug and I handed her the note myself. I let her know that I’d be at her concert in Middletown, OH, the next night. She said that she’s heard it’s going to be a rather small event. She asked if I’d like to sign a song on stage there. I accepted the invitation and let her know that just about any of her slower songs were possibilities, saying, “however the Lord leads…” She nodded in agreement. (The first time she called me out of an audience to sign was on October 3, 1998, in Berne, IN – See story at https://katkreations82.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/traces/; then afterward told me to let her know when I’m at one of her concerts, so she could call me up again.)
Kathy said, “I was at a women’s conference recently and saw someone who looked just like you.” When she called out to her, … oops. We chuckled about that and then both needed to go our separate ways as the event got underway, leaving the next night’s details in Your hands.
You saw me walk away in a bit of amazement … First, the fact of Your timing in when I arrived there, when I pulled out the pen and wrote the note, when I got up to go look for a courier, and when she was passing by. Second, that she was aware enough of the crowd around her to notice me and that she called out to me. Third, as You let me learn the next night, that was one of the few public points of interaction she got to have at that banquet, since her management had learned that there were two stalkers in that crowd. (She didn’t get to come out for meeting folks after the event.)
A bit later, after the dinner, You brought to mind the passage of scripture I’d read that morning in Mark 10. I hadn’t left enough time to fully digest it as we sat together, but had written a line of it in my journal, intending to meditate on it and journal later. That portion said, “Jesus looked at him and loved him …” (Mk 10:21 NIV). That line just caught my eye.
Here was this eager rich young ruler running up to meet You, Jesus, as he called You “good teacher.” From his knees, he asked You how to inherit eternal life. Like everything else he’d amassed in his life, he thought that this was something that must be earned, achieved or otherwise acquired.
You asked him why he’d called You “good,” noting that “No one is good — except God alone.” By calling You “good,” was the young man calling You God? Was the young ruler then ready to follow whatever You said? You pointed out the commandments that the young man would’ve known to follow. The curious thing is that You focused only on the ones that dealt with human relationships. The man claimed to have kept all those since he was a boy.
That’s when Mark describes Your next part: He looked at the man and “He loved him.” You knew this guy’s heart … Lord, You knew where he was coming from and where he was headed with the conversation. You recognized the young man as someone You cared about and You chose to speak out, even lovingly confronting him. This time You alluded to the third of the ten commandments, the one commanding us to “have no other gods” before the true God. You told the guy that the one thin he lacked was to surrender all the goods he’d amassed by his own efforts and give them away to others. But the guy went away sad. He just couldn’t let go of his wealth.
I think the encounter with Kathy that night reminded me of that verse in Mk 10:21 just simply because of the indescribable feeling that arose in me at the thought of being recognized by someone so well-known among so many, and yet she took the time to call out my name and greet me. In the case of the rich young ruler, his encounter was of a deeper nature with the Lord of all. And ya know what … I know that if that had been me in that passage, it would’ve said, “Jesus looked at her and loved her…” And You call me to the same full surrender, no matter what my “everything I have” is, You wants ALL of me.
Father, may You have Your way with me. Where there are things of this world that I am holding onto, help me to open my hands and let You have them. Make my heart and mind just like Jesus’. Amen.
Photo below: Signing “Go Light Your World” as Kathy Troccoli sings in Middletown, OH