What Did You Learn From Your Parents?

What Did You Learn from Your Parents?

My parents taught me to be kind to everyone, and to have empathy and compassion.

I’ve always had a soft heart for the underdog, the person who is disadvantaged, the one who is struggling, the individual that just seems to get bad breaks. I’ve had my share of heartache and things that I wish had gone better, but over the whole, it’s been a pretty blessed life. Instead of feeling guilty when others aren’t doing as well, I learned to do something about it. I can’t solve poverty, or homelessness, or hunger, or any of the other terrible things in the world. But, I can do something.

I remember the first motel I served at. It wasn’t my idea and I begrudgingly went because our small group’s outreach champion said this would be a good serving opportunity for our group. As the small group leader, it was important that I support her ideas.

I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it might be a bit scary, or I wouldn’t know what to do, and a thousand things could go wrong. Of course, like Mark Twain said, “I’ve spent my life worrying about thousands of problems, most of which never happened.” I’m not an incessant worrier, but these fears crossed my mind.

And then we were at the motel. I got to go through the mobile home park next to the motel to invite people, and I ended up talking with people who were sitting drinking beer at 9:30 on a Sunday morning on the porch of their trailers. And it was fun. They were glad I came by, we shared jokes and laughed, and some of them came to the service at the motel.

I was hooked.

The last 12 years have been all about the motels and the people that live in them, or around them.

Like the blind man healed by Jesus in John 9, I don’t know precisely what happened to change my attitude. The blind man simply reported, ”I was blind and now I can see.” What really happened was God was doing heart surgery on me. He was giving me a bigger heart for the lost.

Is God trying to do heart surgery on you? Are you comfortable and happy in your life, not stepping out but just playing it safe close to home? May I humbly suggest that you’re missing out on the journey of a lifetime. There will be a time when you will look back and say, “I could have done something.” Maybe it’s just to take a couple of hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning and share breakfast at a motel service. Maybe it’s to serve once a month or so. But the question that God used to get me to agree to become a pastor was this, “How old will you be when you finally serve me?” Translated for you, God is asking, “When will you stop talking about me and start following me?”

Just as importantly, are you showing your kids that it’s better to do something about the problems of the world than it is to grumble about them?

Be the change you want to see.

Do something.

The world will be a better place and you will be a great example.

This article originally appeared here.

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Ron Wilbur
Ron Wilbur recently retired as a Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church. He's a small groups genius with a knack for advertising and branding as well. He recently launched MotelChurch.org, which seeks to foster a movement of evangelism and church planting among people who are currently living in motels.