20 Dec

This morning my Pastor spoke about mangers and while I am sure the take away that he was hoping for was much more than just “mangers”….mangers is what I left with. After he posed the thought that if God hadn’t used a manger to place his son in that night…would any of us today even know what one was? Knowing the grandeur of God and the limitless availability he holds in his hands to conjour up or vividly create a top of the line bed for his son to rest his head…one must scratch their head that, that same God chose an ordinary manger.

A manger – an ordinary thing, doing the extraordinary.

I walked out of church this morning thinking about mangers. Pastor encouraged us to look for “mangers” in our lives and in the lives of those around us. He encouraged us to stop focusing on the things WE pray about seeing in others lives (while not discounting those prayers) and to look for the “mangers”. While I continue to hold steadfast to those words, I also challenge them. Why not start building a “manger” for someone. (yes, I realize that in just a few short paragraphs, the word manger has now become annoying…in fact, it doesn’t even look like a word to me anymore) What if we saw a need in someone and took action? What if our prayers became more than words, but movement? What if by the smallest and most ORDINARY of gestures, God could use us to start a ripple effect and create something extraordinary out of it all?

What if? To be completely honest, I hate that game. It’s a waste of time spent thinking without any actions or risks. It’s a game where people assess their worries and fears in a single sentence. It’s a game of stagnant procrastination and many of us live our dreams, resources and potential that way…and I am the guiltiest one at that. One of my hero’s is one of my youngest friends, Janae Nielsen. She may not even know that, but her passion for the street people of Spokane is utterly inspiring. In fact, it is evident by her blogs and social updates that my title of “street people” is entirely wrong because to her, they are much more than people but friends with real names and stories and needs that she lives and breathes to meet. Janae REFUSES to be ordinary. She refuses to ask the “what if’s”, such as, What if I fed these people who are hungry, what if I clothed these people who are cold, what if I sat down and spent time with these people who are starving for relationships. There are no “what if’s” with Janae, but more like “who’s next?” Who next can she serve, who next can she clothe? Who next can she start to build a”manger” for?

Janae could do anything with her life…and I do mean ANYTHING. The girl is in her early twenties with an endless belt of talents and the world at her fingertips, but I’m sure if you asked her…there’s no place else she’d rather be. Everyday she is apart of building a “manger” for her new and soon to be friends by taking something so ordinary like sitting down with a cup of Starbucks and all the time in the world to hear somebody who just wants to talk.

While I may not feel the same passion to do what Janae does in the streets of Spokane, she does inspire me to do something more than just pass by those on the street that I pray find a “Janae” in their life. Recently I put together small bags full of warm socks, gloves, a beanie, toothbrush & toothpaste, a McDonald’s GC and a simple card. I’ve wanted to do this for years now and every time I pass by someone in need on the street, I kick myself for not having a bag in my car or purse. While I am fully aware that this small gesture will not get somebody off the streets and is unavoidably temporary…I can’t help but dream that this small gesture would be the building of a “manger” in a person’s life.

I share my example to only give one example and hopefully to inspire others to turn their words into movement. God calls us to be imitators of Christ, which by definition would require much more than knowledge of Him, but movement. Action. I don’t just want to be somebody who prays for other people’s needs to be met, but helps meet them. I am becoming more and more aware of God’s timing and networking and divinely given resources that he gives to provide extraordinary experiences and miracles out of everyday, ordinary things.

Mangers…who would’ve thought?!


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