Saturday, August 06, 2011

Grateful for the "Reachers"

A few months ago, I attended a day conference about teens and mental health. Both play a pivotal role in my life currently so I dragged myself out of bed and out the door to get there in a timely fashion. The plan was to go with someone else, but at the last minute it didn't work out.

There was a time in my life when I could not (would not?) do things by myself. I actually remember the first time I went to a movie (gasp) by myself! I'm pretty sure this must have been a pre-children issue because now I have reached the point of appreciating some "me" time.

Back to the conference. It got to be lunchtime. I had made my way around the vendor tables and was preparing to sit by myself and look through some of the materials. As I was looking down, I heard someone say, "I noticed you were sitting here by yourself. There are a couple of us at that table if you would like to join us." I was pleased that she asked. I was pleased that I didn't politely decline as I still have a tendency to do. We had a very nice lunch and a pleasant afternoon as we went to some of the same break-out sessions after lunch.

She was a "reacher". "Reachers" go out of their way to make someone feel included. Even if they are least they made an effort. I wonder how many God-moment opportunities I have missed because I didn't reach or accept the reaching of another.

I am a great reacher to kids. I still have issues reaching out or making the first effort with adults. It is something I still struggle with. There are some days I do really well...probably too well if you ask my kids because they tend to get frustrated if I talk to strangers after telling them not to. Our kids are getting old enough to be able to tell when someone needs some extra care and concern.

Unfortunately, it has become a fine line in today's society. The line between reaching out or being considered the weird stranger that talks to people they don't know. Even if we can't make it all the way to asking someone to sit with us at lunch, we can offer a smile. Reaching out does not have to be some huge, planned undertaking. Making yourself available to reach or be reached out to could open the door to some wonderful opportunities to join God in His reaching us.....and others. It allows us to show Jesus' love to others. After all, He is the ultimate "reacher"!

Matthew 14:30-32 (NIV) 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 

Acts 17:27-28 (NIV) 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.

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