I AM NOT THE POINT
AUTHOR – BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 – BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT Shakespir
Shakespir Edition, License Note
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Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration
Jesus Is The Point
God is so incredibly patient with me as He continues to faithfully expose His divine nature to my heart. Faithful in that I asked Him to. A nature, that in all honesty, is nothing like mine but one I desire above all to possess. I’m learning that a “pearl of such great” value comes with a cost. As it turns out: The price tag is me, deciding it’s not about me!
Society at its best says; It’s not “all” about me. Jesus says: It’s not “at all” about me. That’s very different!
“Real life” experiences are so often the tool God uses to teach me the most valuable of lessons. A few days ago I took my customary walk to the store to pick up nothing of importance. I tend to make excuses to accommodate my “ritual” knowing I always feel better after my stroll. Being retired and living in a one bedroom apartment can get somewhat claustrophobic at times, thus walking tends to supply a pre-emptive remedy to that as potentially problematic.
Besides, I enjoy saying hello to perfect strangers so my sojourns provide opportunity to do so. It was very early on Easter Sunday and pouring down rain which made my decision and the timing of such rather dubious, but off I went fully convinced that if I didn’t drown in the shower, I likely wouldn’t in the rain.
North bound for twenty minutes to the corner drug store was the plan, as I took full advantage of the “hoody” my dear sister Pragna had supplied for me as a gift many months ago. Amazing sisters in Christ are such a gift and I have “two” who watch over me. I’m spoiled!
Half way to my destination I recognized a familiar face. A young man I had met a few months prior when Shila drove me to my bank to take care of a few things in need of resolving. It was winter at the time and he was begging for loose change. The scowls of passers-by greeted his every request. It’s amazing what you can hear and see when God opens your ears and eyes. I was disturbed to the point of feeling incredibly uncomfortable while standing in the cue waiting to conclude my business, with the flashes of the dis-approving faces running through my mind.
Upon exiting I looked and he was gone. “I should have stopped before entering the bank”, I thought and then there he was huddled in the corner of the small plaza looking like a whipped dog. I prayed: “God send him over to me and I promise I will take care of him”. How generous of me, I thought. Not near enough: God thought, as He prompted me to go to the young man with this lesson attached! If he comes to you it’s begging. If you go to him it’s a gift. So I went and he and I got to spend a few precious moments together. His eyes, having realized that someone cared is a visual I’ll never forget, and here we were again on Easter Sunday morning.
He was wearing the exact same clothes and sporting the exact same un-showered smell. The earliness of the day was surprising to me, dispelling the often expressed theory’s that “these people are lazy and should simply get a job”. Sometimes it’s not that simple!
This day he was dripping, soaking wet and panhandling in the pouring rain! It was obvious he had been out all night doing the same and showed me the $2.00 reward for his efforts, as he asked if I had any change I could spare. He didn’t recognize me so I decided to chat a little with the young man as the rains continued. I would discovered through his speech, that he had a serious mental disability. In other words: Getting a job wasn’t going to happen I surmised!
I was reminded of how, at the age of forty, I had a brain that wouldn’t work properly with the massive frustrations attached. I thought: “Perhaps had God not graciously intervened on my behalf, would this be where I would have ended up”? It’s very possible folks! This young man wasn’t born like this. Something dramatic happened! Something I’ll likely never know but God knows and that’s the point.
So we chatted, with me responding to his request with a question. “Do you only accept change because I don’t have any, but I do have “paper money”, would that be OK?
And here’s the saddest and strangely sweetest thing you will ever hear: “Sir, I don’t understand your question”, I never get paper money”. His “childlike” honesty was refreshing. He didn’t say, “absolutely”! Simply; “I don’t understand”. So I showed him what I meant by reaching into my wallet and explaining that paper money is better than change with my directive to go and get a really good breakfast with it. I would have loved to join him but church was awaiting my arrival. God will give me another opportunity to do so I’m sure. Maybe in God’s mind, the young man had been shocked enough for one day. There was a lot of WOW’S as my teaching on the value of “paper money” began to take root in his mind. Something of noted interest; His thankyou’s outweighed his wow’s, by far!
Before going our separate ways I embraced him, in the pouring rain, with a Happy Easter hug and wish, to which he reciprocated likewise with the add-on of “God bless you Sir”. God bless me? “Really”? I thought.
I noticed “the hug” revealed something amazing. The young man’s un-showered smell had been tangibly covered by the sweet fragrance of God’s “grace”. “As is the case with me”, I correctly thought to myself.
Jesus Makes It about Them
The freedom experienced as I embrace that truth releases me from myself! It’s a wonderful feeling! I’ve never been truly in love with possessions but to render them irrelevant releases me from having to protect them. What I don’t claim as “mine” I don’t have to concern myself with. Jesus said: “He who loses his life for My sake shall gain it”. That’s making more spiritual sense to me with every passing day. I can’t lose what I don’t own! Better said: If it’s all God’s, as I say it is, then I don’t own it. It’s all on loan and entrusted to me to be used as an expression of His grace to others. That’s the point of me having it. That equally extends to my whole life, top to bottom. Each breath I take is on loan from God for the designed purpose of expressing His grace to others. That’s the point in me having it! I could go on but you get the point.
You see, when I stop making “me” the point, and start making the heart of Jesus the point, Jesus will make “them” the point, in and through me! My reward? Getting to see the love of God in action up close and personal. But even better: Being exposed to His magnificent divine nature allows Him to pull back the veil of my limited sight showing me what I can expect as a garment of wearing if I will daily “own nothing” to have everything! And what is everything? Seeing a piece of heaven before you get there! What an invitation! What could be better?
It’s Not Sacrificial
My “needs” will always be taken care of according to my God’s riches in glory, as promised. The key word being ”needs” not “wants”. But that aside, my greatest “need” is seeing God take the canvasses of people’s lives and paint beautiful pictures.
His nature becomes so wonderfully and radiantly real as He works His creative mastery bringing hope to the hopeless, comebacks to the defeated, and resurrections to the spiritually dead.
“The story” is always His with us being allowed a very privileged part to play. Sacrificial? Never! Beneficial? Always!
So Who Are “Them”?
The “them” spoken of is “everyone” you meet in your travels with no exceptions nor exclusions. Imagine for a moment, having the sight that defaults to seeing “all people” as those belonging to “the world that God so loved”? What a spectacular visual to immerse one’s daily life in. That sight is available. That’s how God sees “them”. Our voluntary choice of “grace based breathing” while understanding that our every breath is laced with grace, allows us to do likewise. As is the case with us, “they” were “all” died for by Christ! That’s why I say hello to strangers. They aren’t strangers to God!
Back To My Young Friend
After hearing his response to grace ringing in my ears: “Sir, I don’t understand”, I realize he and I have something very important in common.
I peer into my Lord’s beautiful eyes and express the identical response to His grace. “My Lord, I don’t understand. Why would you do all you have done for me throughout the years? When I’m not lovable You love me. When I’m not faithful You are. It’s far too divine to account for”.
Jesus responds with His always comforting voice. “True Bill, you don’t understand. It’s bigger than you but not bigger than Me. It’s past your understanding but I understand, and that’s why I’m “the point” and not you!
And Bill said: “Amen” I get it! It does my heart good to know that the Jesus I follow and admire with my entire being, cared on Easter Sunday morning, in the pouring rain, about a young man who was hoping for a little spare change but got more than he hoped for. Again, how similar he and I are!
By the way: This same Jesus “didn’t care” if I got wet and frankly, neither did I. Even a gifted “hoody” gets soaking wet in time! But as previously mentioned and prophetically foretold: I didn’t drown!
1 John 2 – 6: “Whoever claims to live in Him MUST live as Jesus did”. That scripture challenges me to the core of my very being. You see, I know through His word exactly how Jesus lived. It’s not a mystery with multiple versions and denominational interpretations to sort through. His well-documented lifestyle and fully disclosed mindset while on earth, is the very reason I find Jesus so attractive and impossible to not love, but is that where it ends for me. Am I to simply be a thankful recipient? A consumer of grace but not a responder to that same grace? Am I to love the mind of Christ and yet not desire to be like-minded?
I’m asking myself: Is receiving the same as responding? Ten men were healed of their leprosy by Jesus. They all “received” the identical blessing, but only one “responded”. So in answer to my own question my conclusion is NO. They’re not the same at all. I sense the need to get this right seeing as our scripture clearly states, I MUST live as Jesus did!
In “response”, I being the healed, MUST become the healer, as Jesus was. I being the one who freely received, MUST in turn freely give. I being the one-time enemy of God and yet loved by God, MUST in response be a lover of my enemies.
Imagine for a moment this “reality” as a standard to orchestrate one’s life around. Jesus, “the darling of heaven” leaves His glorious, from the beginning, existence and comes to this world not as a King with all the pageantry attached but rather a baby, not as a Lion but rather a Lamb, not to be served but rather to serve, not to condemn but rather to save.
He became “nothing” in the world’s sight so that I could become “everything” from heaven’s perspective. Two thousand years ago, the holy Son of God and Creator of the universe in all its vastness, willingly chose to make it NOT about HIM but rather ME! You see, I’ve had my turn having it “about ME”. It’s now my turn to reciprocate and “live as Jesus lived”. Never to be seen by me as sacrificial, but rather simply appropriate.
He thought it NOT below Himself to look down the corridors of time and wash MY feet at the last supper. He by choice, hung on a cross in servanthood to ME and MY impossible debt that day, with a love and security sealed by His blood that would last eternally.
The point for my serious consideration: It’s already been “all about ME” to the extreme! It’s now time to make it all about Him! As previously mentioned, while in the process, Jesus will make it “all about” others as I become His hands and heart to a needy world.
Jesus said to love my neighbor as myself. That will, more often than not, translate into seeing their well-being as “more important” than my own! Isn’t that exactly how Jesus lived? And who was His neighbor? Everyone! “For God so loved the world that He gave”! It’s time for me to give back! To love back! To forgive back! To “reflect back” as in a mirror, this Jesus who I know and love. Not simply in seasons of spiritual euphoria but rather within the context of an entrenched every day lifestyle.
What’s ironic is when I do, I win. As I abandon myself as “the point”, I fulfill my reason for being here! I release myself from “self” as I embrace my Lord’s selflessness. In short: I become FREE!
I’ve pretty well concluded that: If “I am the point”, then “I’ve missed the point”, and in doing so have missed the entire plot to the story. His story! That can’t happen! By God’s grace it won’t!
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REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK ONE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TWO
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK THREE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FOUR
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FIVE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SIX
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SEVEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK EIGHT
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK NINE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK ELEVEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TWELVE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK THIRTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FOURTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FIFTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SIXTEEN
THE ROSE AND THE THORN
WILLING HEARTS – NO LIMITS
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
THE SECOND CROSS
BULLS IN CHINA SHOPS
FAITH IS A JOURNEY
THE HEART IS SACRED
REJOICE – IT’S A NEW DAY!
BLESSED & CONTENT
MY FRIEND – MY PEACE – MY LORD
YOU DECIDE – CHOICES
THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
HIS LOVE MADE PERFECT
AMAZING GRACE – AMAZING SAVIOR
TALK AND WALK
GUIDE ME HOLY SPIRIT
GOD IS BIGGER
GETTING OVER “STUFF”
FAITH – GOD IS NOT INTIMIDATED
BEING LIKE CHRIST
I AM NOT THE POINT