In my house we pray almost every night before bedtime. We say our regular evening prayer and then we ask who we want to pray for tonight. We often pray for our grandmas; we pray for Jesus (I remind them we are thankful for Jesus); and then we pick random people. Jacob, my oldest son, had a friend he loved very much from his previous school. We met his family and they were great people. We started hanging out with them more and more. Jacob played soccer and basketball with his buddy. I started playing softball with his dad, Rob. I knew that some of the guys on the team, other than Rob, weren’t Christians. I thought I could share the love of Jesus with them. Here is the deal. I played softball when I was at the seminary, and although the sem team was good, it was not like playing on a major league team. However, when I got to the first game with Rob’s team, I thought I was going to lose it. The other teams were good; our team was good; but I was not. So I quit going, and never paid for the league fees. I was thrilled in the beginning to be a part of it, but eventually I was just scared. I was afraid the ball was going to take my head off. It seemed like that was the downfall of our connection with Jacob’s buddy’s family. And so at night, even six months later, Jacob would pray for his friend. I would cringe every time, knowing it was my sin that made this happen and lose his connection. I ultimately let my son down and didn’t know how to tell him.
Over the past year God has brought me to new depths and new things. I feel like a lot of things in my life seem to be going well and staying on track. Yet, I knew I wanted to fix the mistake I made, so I asked Rob to lunch. I didn’t tell him why I wanted to do lunch, I just said, “Let’s do lunch. “ I made sure I stopped by the ATM to get the money I owed him. I pulled up, feeling a little nervous, but once and for all ready to put this situation to rest. I went in the restaurant; we exchanged small talk; and finally I said, “I have to tell you something. I am sorry I didn’t pay for softball.” I explained a couple of the reasons why. I had imagined all sorts of things that he probably thought about me; none of which were actually true. He was totally cool and forgiving, and we cleared up a whole lot of the misunderstanding. We ended up using the fee money I brought him to pay for lunch, and we moved on. And best of all, our sons are going to play together again!
This week we talk about the encounter Joseph had with his brothers. When Joseph’s brothers saw him again, they didn’t know they were looking at Joseph. Joseph felt all kinds of emotions as he wrestled through how to respond to them. Scripture is specific in describing some of those emotional moments.
The current series is called Nobody’s Left Out. It isn’t just about the fact that none of us are left out in our abilities to serve. It’s also about the opportunities we have as servants to make sure nobody’s left out from the love of God. God calls us to speak forgiveness to people, to repent and repair relationships. We all have relationships like my story. There are people we need to talk to. Those moments shape and form us to be Christ’s Extraordinary Servants. This week we take time to watch how it formed Joseph, and how we can move forward to invite people to that extraordinary servant-hood together.