Psalm 23:1

Sunday, March 19
Mark Lucht

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

What do you want in your life? A new car? Security? Friends? Someone to love? World peace in our time? Love and understanding among all humankind? So, about that car, then …

What a sweet comfort it is to be able to call the Lord my shepherd, and to be arguably free from want. Just imagine my surprise to find the Lord wanted something from ME.

Living in Chicago since the seventies, I enjoyed urban living with its rough edges and the faint hint of inner-city danger in its gritty situations and characters. It also afforded me the opportunity to do mission work without having to leave the city.

Over thirty years ago, my friend Mary Olsen told me I might be interested in a fledgling ministry in my neighborhood called New Moms, aimed at young single mothers facing a world of job-seeking and child-rearing, with a distinct focus on their spirituality. As I sat with the director, listening to her jaw-dropping story about how she felt the call of the Holy Spirit to this particular ministry, I could literally feel a voice within myself telling me: Find out how you can help here.  What a feeling that was!

Indeed, when a ministry is driven by the Holy Spirit, there is no more overwhelming experience than answering that irrevocable call to become the temporal extension of the eternal glory you just feel washing over you.

I was able to offer what home improvement talents I had:; painting apartment interiors, repairing drywall, transporting donated appliances like stoves and refrigerators, and performing electrical upgrades to the ministry offices.

When New Moms was planning their Christmas party, they looked to me to find some men to watch the parking lot filled with the cars of volunteers from suburban congregations in a dark and dubious neighborhood, and to monitor the young mothers and their youngsters as they crossed the street from the ministry to the old church for the Christmas service.

I happened to be doing a lot of volunteer work for PADS at the time, so I was able to round up four streetwise but trustworthy guys with the promise of lots of delicious party food. After shepherding all the little children and their moms across the street from the party in the ministry building to the service at the church, my guys guarded the doors as ushers, and I was up in the balcony handling the sound and lighting. As usual, the guest preacher was riveting, courageously winding up with an altar call: Lord Jesus, I want to experience your mercy todayI am ready to turn my life over to you. For personal reasons, altar calls always make me emotional.

What I hadn’t expected was that two of my homeless shelter guys would be moved to walk up to the altar to accept the Lord Jesus into their lives.  Now I was in total tears. It was like being in the middle of a miracle.  Again, what a feeling!

Lord God, we praise you for those opportunities you offer us to be a part of your miracles here on earth. Keep us watchful for what you want from us and let us always be ready to respond. Amen.

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