So after a Sunday I'd prefer to forget [that I detailed here] I tried to synthesize my experience with what God has been teaching me. So rewind to Saturday night: I had the opportunity to speak at a young adult gathering in Georgetown, Ohio. It was the inaugural gathering of the group, a worship service called "Connect." I choose to roll with the theme and speak from Genesis 18, where Abraham welcomes three strangers, one of whom happens to be [most likely] God himself. I urged the college kids to take every opportunity to reach out to people, regardless of your preconceived notions about them, and engage them as if you're Abraham unknowingly entertaining the Lord. I think they got the message. Maybe God wanted me to get the message too, hence, my Sunday.
Jimmy and Richard are those kind of people I know I need to try to connect to. Not because I'm a pastor, but because I'm a Christian. In the long run, they might cause me more grief than joy, but it isn't mine to discriminate. I have to give it a go regardless.
That being said, I can't allow individual people to dominate my life. Don't get me wrong: I'm all about people trying to help people out, but I'm not Jesus- I can't save them. When I recognize I can do no more, it's time to give up. Jesus stated there's a point that, when your message isn't accepted, you just need to move on. It's rough because we always want to fail on the side of compassion, but Jesus had many other attributes that we sometimes fail to emulate.
Let me add a few other thoughts to wrap this up: it doesn't mean that it doesn't break your heart. I'm an optimist. I think that everybody I meet will wake up and get it. It's not like it's easy for me to give up on people.
Finally, just as I was wrapping this up, I get a phone call. It's Jimmy. He was calling to let me know he was OK. He also stated how much he cared about us and were glad that he had friends like us. I guess sometimes it does work out. That's why we can't stop trying.