As if for the very fist time the lyrics seemed to come alive and reverberated through my brain.
The song itself is pretty ancient but the lyrics remind us that Christ comes to our doors so often. He comes in the guise of many and varied people - we may see these people at our front door, in the supermarket, at church or at work in fact anywhere we go Jesus may present himself to us, through them.
We so often turn these folks away saying - "God bless, be at peace" or variations of this but do we actually mean what we say - and can we back it up?
I continued on my way but those lyrics kept haunting me throughout that day and when I eventually joined a prayer and praise group that next Saturday morning through Twitter, as I usually do, I found myself actually tweeting those very words "God bless you - May God's peace be with you". Must admit I was shocked!
How glibly those words rolled off my keyboard - how trite they sounded after being convicted of their TRUE meaning. The very phrase sounded so flippant, off-hand, brassy and yes! even rude.
How can we as so-called Christians sound so 'real' yet be so hypocritical. The very phrase "God bless you" is so well worn it becomes worn out when we don't really mean what we say.
Not only that but I honestly believe that it can become an affront to God and a major sin.
I truly believe that God puts people in our paths on purpose then leaves it up to us to reach out to that person no matter who he or she may be.
The ways we reach out can be so numerous as will be the many and varied people we are trying to reach.
I believe that some of these people can come as a mighty big shock. Reaching the so-called unreachable, the unlovable, the friendless and the lonely. The busy office worker, the check out chap, the unflappable secretary, delivery driver and (here is a hard one) your enemy!
Jesus was a "REACHER" - He touched the unlovely, the ostracised, the lonely and the sick. Mark 5 tells the story of how Jesus reached a demon possessed man - chained due to his violence, yet was touched by the Son of God and became a Warrior for Jesus.
In Romans 12, we are even called to be Jesus' hands and feet, reaching out to people just where they are and in their need.
Now, at this point I am certainly not recommending that we disrespect people or annoy them in any way but all I am saying is that we, with the Holy Spirit's leading, connect with people around us. This may be as simple as a smile or a helping hand.
John 13:35 says "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another"
The presence of love for others even 'unlovable' others in our lives is a sure sign that God is changing us by his Spirit. With Jesus' Spirit inside of us any words of hope, encouragement, love and patience from us can and will make a huge difference.
Sometimes words of love and encouragement and putting ourselves 'out there' can mean a BIG sacrifice for us, but that is exactly what love does - it puts others first and ourselves last.
After learning this amazing lesson for myself I can now say "God bless you" in it's true meaning.
How are you at reaching out? How many personal stories are out there that you will never hear? How many hands are reaching out to you that you wouldn't even know about unless you make the first point of contact?
Pray this prayer with me:- "Dear Lord, I'm not really good at 'reaching out' but I know that with your help I can be courageous even bold for you. Please give me a loving and sensitive heart. Help me to love as you do and help me to see others as you do. Please help me to show love where it is needed most."
God bless you and may God's peace and joy reign in your life this week as you strive to show "Jesus type" love to everyone with whom you come in contact.