Journaling, aside from pecking the pages of my heart away on a laptop, is one of my daily therapies. Whether I’m reading a book, a newspaper, a pamphlet, or etc., I keep my journal nearby to jot down ideas or descriptions of images that come to mind.
A few days ago, my husband and I caught the movie Focus starring Will Smith. The movie is a genius display of how-to be a world-class pick pocket. Will Smith, who plays the wayward son with the inherited craft of trickery and thievery, takes on a female understudy after she makes a failed attempt to school the cunningly wise.
Their first meeting was a lesson on how to focus, touch, and take; snatch your mark’s focus, gently invade their personal space with friendly touch, then, without them ever suspecting you, pilfer their pockets, purses, person and anything else available during the take.
Now, I know you’re thinking just what does a movie about stealing have to do with a word crush Wednesday. Let me tell you.
During that lesson on focus, Will Smith said something to his understudy that made all the simple sense in the world. He said something along the lines of, “You can get what you want out of people by the way you touch them.”
Our soul purpose in the kingdom is to do just as Jesus came to do–seek and save that which was lost. The obstacle? Getting people’s attention. We have to touch them in just the right way that we divert their attention from the alluring attractions of the world long enough to get them to focus on the message that should be flowing from our hearts and not coming off as service from our lips. This familiar story comes to mind. Zaccheus was a rich tax collector in the place of Jericho. One day, while Jesus was passing through, Zaccheus made haste to see Him. Because he was too short to catch a glimpse of the Messiah, he climbed up a sycomore tree to see him clearly. Jesus saw him and requested he come down out of the tree and invite Him into his house. Zaccheus complied. But while doing so, some self-righteous folks began murmuring against him, or bad mouthing so-to-speak. Zaccheus was a sinner and how dare Jesus spend time with a sinner, let alone go to his house. Zaccheus, after hearing the people’s complaints about the situation, speaks up for himself, “Lord, I don’t declare to be a saint, a Christian, or any other title religious people refer to themselves by in your name. But here’s what’s in my heart. I give half of what I have to the poor and if I’ve ever cheated anyone, I now restore it fourfold.
There are so many principles in this story, but because I want to stay on topic, I’ll start with what about Jesus caught Zaccheus’ s attention. What diverted his attention? It’s simple. Prior to their encounter that day, Jesus had a reputation for touching people’s lives. He healed the woman with the issue of blood. He healed the centurion’s servant. And, let’s also mention how he touched with His teachings.
I’m not diminishing the work of John the Baptist, or any of the prophets/disciples, but Jesus affected the hearts of people by the way he touched them. He fed them–physically and spiritually, He healed them–physically and spiritually and He loved them unconditionally and gracefully.
I said all of that to say this, with churches on almost every corner in almost every city, why are people still lost? Why don’t they hear us? Why can’t we reach them? Because, we aren’t touching their needs. I’ve heard this adage at least one hundred times and each time it makes more sense. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Church, the buildings we praise in, have transitioned from places of help and healing to multipurpose business structures. Our messages of hope and healing have become entitlement arguments about which form of religion or denomination is so right, and which is so off-based. Denominations along side religion have no relation to the Kingdom. The bible is clear and written so that a child could understand it. If we would just behave like His children…But I digress…
We can take back our communities by touching them. Figure out ways to provide better educational opportunities that lead to employment opportunities, which could make leaning on fast money (pharmaceutical sales) obsolete. Build up small businesses in our communities by supporting them. Stay on top of poverty by providing storehouses that feed families. Lastly, teach the word…
By living it.