Thursday, May 08, 2014

A Chosen Instrument of Mine

By Melanie Rigney

(After Ananias protested the Lord’s request to lay hands on Saul of Tarsus), the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16)

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. (Mark 16:15)
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you.” (John 6:53)

Lord, help me to keep You in mind at all times, setting aside my own preconceived notions and prejudices.

I got a piece of jail mail the other day. It doesn’t happen every day, but frequently enough (five or six times a year) that it doesn’t surprise me. It is, however, one of the reasons the address I publicize in public profiles and editing listings is not my home, but a mail box.

The gentleman was looking for someone to help him find a publisher or agent for his non-fiction book on Christian spirituality. In his polite, handwritten letter, he noted that my listing said I preferred to work via e-mail, but he would not be able to do that. Further, he explained that he would not be able to make phone calls, but could take them, then asked if I’d be willing to consider working with him under these unusual circumstances.

Since I’m not taking on new clients at this point, I have a standard response to that effect. But before I sent it, I decided to check him out. It turned out he’s a seventy-something former Episcopal priest, small-town mayor, and real estate agent who abused a seven-year-old girl on multiple occasions over at least eighteen months. I was stunned; most of my jail mail comes from convicted drug users or dealers. As Ananias felt about Saul of Tarsus, I was put off at the idea of having any contact at all with this slime ball.

Finally, I decided to do what I would with any other would-be client: I wrote a note thanking him for his inquiry, but noted I’m currently focused on my own writing these days and therefore not working with new clients. And I wished him the best with his project. That line was difficult to write. It was hard to remember that as perverted as this creep is, he is still a loved child of God, capable of being redeemed.

Ananias’s obedience to the Lord helped a man who would bring millions of souls to the kingdom. I doubt that will happen with this prison inmate. But it’s not about whether those we help will change the world. It’s about whether we are brave enough to change ourselves, even minutely, and love the unlovable in His name.

Be kind, even in a small way, to someone who has no reason to expect kindness from you. Plant a seed.

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