What’s up with Tim?
|Maybe the same thing as you and me
(I promise we will resume our Acts study shortly!)
Dateline - Flagstaff, Arizona.
He was down on his luck. Twenty-eight-year-old Tim had made some bad decisions, apparently fueled by alcohol. Deciding to get a fresh start, he moved to Flagstaff from Oregon, and in the shortrun took a job washing dishes, renting a room at a dive motel. (I know because I drove him home)
But as I stood outside the other day listening to his story, my first assessment was correct—Tim has a really good heart. In fact, when I suggested he go back and apologize to the female bartender who had thrown him out, ‘because downtown Flagstaff is small and you don’t want a bad rap’, he did it. No excuses, just ‘I’m sorry for offending you, Ma’am,’ with me at his elbow.
God really has a great personality … see Tim was raised by a mother just like mine—very strict, legalistic Christian, who neither believed in women wearing pants or any sort of outward adornment, (have you seen my picture? Guess Mom didn’t pass than on to her baby daughter!) Women, of course, are to keep silent in the church as well, blah, blah, blah. That said, our mothers taught us of God’s Word and God’s love.
But here’s the thing: Tim’s biggest problem is not alcohol or his chain-smoking, swearing mouth—
Tim is isolated, he is alone.
On the streets, they would say he has no posse, right? Someone else might say he has ‘no people’; the church might say he has no small group, riiiight? But the fact is,
Tim has no community.
Community is a gift from the heart of a good and loving Father. Community is about not doing life alone, like Tim right now. For some reason, the warm feeling of Robert Fulghum’s words come to mind; would you allow me to digress? Simple, clear, and conceptually in line with Scripture:
These are the things I learned in Kindergarten ~ even though I didn’t go to kindergarten!
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”1
It is the start of a new year, right? This is your chance to join a community of loving Christ followers, or perhaps rejoin and come with the renewed purpose of being an active participant—looking to love and serve those on your right and left. I love what the writer of Hebrews penned:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.2
I’m not suggesting Tim is ‘less than’ in any way, but currently, he is down one community with people who will love him, encourage him and even hold his feet to the fire if need be.3 ‘You? Time to jump in, get connected to love.
Christine Todd DiGiacomo
1 -- Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
2 – Hebrews 10.24-25
3 – Texted with Tim today, hoping to take him to dinner one night before I leave Flag