Thursday, March 02, 2006

I saw a fierce man today...

I saw a fierce man today.

He wasn't chiseled like a Greek god.
He wasn't handsome like a TV preacher.
His name was probably Harold or Norman, not Brad or Collin.
He had a fat gut that hung over his shorts and a really nasty scar on his arm that looked like someone poked a pencil into his pudgy flesh.
He wasn't white but Hispanic I think, something other than normal for Spokane.

He didn't seem highly educated or well versed in all the cultural do's and don'ts that are so important with all the suburbanites that frequent the YMCA. He wasn't wearing a Speedo or any of those other stylish swimwear accessories that make you look so sporty.

He was just average.

At least that is what I thought until I saw him at work.

You see Norman came into the pool pushing a severely handicapped man in a wheel chair. I watched him from the hot tub where I was soaking after my hour plus pursuit after the coveted Greek god chisel.

I watched him strap on water weights to this feeble mans legs and pull him out of his chair and lower him in the water on the handicapped lift. I watched him hold this man up in the water from behind, while he placed a few floaties under his arms to help keep him from sinking in the water. Norman had to hug this man from behind and walk him  through the water for exercise. He had to hold him or he would crumble into the water and drown on his own. He had to keep pushing the man's chin up to keep him from going face down in the water. The man was completely unable to do anything much on his own, he was a puppet in Norman's arms and Norman just walked him around in the pool.

I sat there wondering how much Norman was paid to walk this man around in the pool. I wondered how many people would think that this was a waste of hard earned money. I thought about how many people would probably rather just see that invalid in a bed somewhere watching TV and eating applesauce. There was another woman on the side of the pool helping too. She was telling the handicapped man to pick up his feet, hold up his chin and encouraging him to keep walking.

Here was two people spending their time on someone who couldn't say thank you or respond with much more than a cock-eyed look and a guttural moan here and there. You will never know them and are most likely asleep at this hour anyway. But as I watched those two people serve this helpless man who probably will never accomplish anything much in this life in the eyes of the world…I realized something.

Norman was a fierce man.

Real life…real manhood…is servanthood.

The fiercest life is a life of loving sacrifice.

I wept in that hot tub, tears of repentance, tears of admiration and tears of determination to love fiercely again. To hold others in my arms that might never accomplish anything other than what I am able to empower them to do together. I saw a real pastor in that pool. It isn't glamorous, it' doesn't pay the best, it is hard work with little recognition, it's a life of service and sacrifice and some people will drown if we don't walk with them in such a way. God calls some people to simply hold others up, to walk behind them, to encourage them and be their strength.

Little did Norman and his friend know that God was using their simple life to affect the kingdom of God. That they were preaching to a pastor by walking in the pool. Little did Norman know that today he would help a man see his calling in greater clarity and be used by the Holy Spirit to awaken compassion in a wounded heart.

God works in mysterious ways and He truly uses the weak things of this world to confound the strong.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I wept as I read this post my brother! It touched my heart and stirred my spirit to want to serve selflessly again without regard to what is gained in return or words of recognition. What a holy place that is to be! The words that stirred me most were "To hold others in my arms that might never accomplish anything other than what I am able to empower them to do together" and "it's a life of service and sacrifice and some people will drown if we don't walk with them in such a way. God calls some people to simply hold others up, to walk behind them, to encourage them and be their strength." It makes me feel like I could actually do something for the Kingdom again. Something that doesn't require me to speak the most eloquently spoken sermon or sing with the perfected tongue of angels, but to rather serve with love and selflessness with all that God has given me. To never give up on people. To walk with them through the darkest of valleys and to lift them up as high as I can, closer to God. Being a fierce man of God is to walk with someone, not knowing what fruit that persons life might bear, loving that person as Jesus has loved us. I truly appreciate this post. I pray for an awakening within my heart today!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stirred and challenged my dedication to God's highest calling...that of a servant!

I know another fierce man! Different time, different place, different circumstances. This man holds up the heads of those floundering in the cesspool of life's debris. Neglect, rejection, abuse, pain of every description marks their life. I, too, have watched him walk them thru crisis after crisis...enabling them to move forward. He, too, has taken them, guided them, hugged them, and literally breathed life into them. I'm certain, for some at least, that it has saved their physical life, and most certainly it has keep them alive spiritually. We honor you, Eric, for who you are and what you do. Keep going, fierce man, you are making a difference!


Anonymous said...

Very well said Donella! I agree with that wholeheartedly. Amen and amen. Keep pushing Eric. You have made a diffrence in this life!


Anonymous said...



Michael McMullen said...

Awesome story. Great insight. Even the Son of God came not to be served, but to serve. Why do we put so much more on our plate?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the very kind words folks. I hope the post inspires us to get in the pool and open our eyes to the miracles that are happening right before us.

Anonymous said...

Eric, indeed a fierce man,I have been one of those who you,through my times of spiritual-crisises, have held-up, supported, fought for in prayer and speaking straight into my life. And we are even oceans apart, yet one of the key people in my life who God has used to not let me drown in times where, by myself, I couldn't hold my head above the water much longer! THANK YOU precious brother and faithful friend! :)Miss you!

FCB said...

When I read this post I wanted to reply but others had already described my thoughts. Then I read a story this moring about a great painter,I thought of you.
"So it is said of Guido, that one day when an Italian noble asked him from what model he obtained the grace and ideal beauty of his female heads, he answered:--
"I will show you," and calling to him a rude and uncouth peasant, bade him sit down, turn his head, and look up at the sky. Then, taking his chalk, he rapidly drew a Magdalene, tender and subdued in her penitent loveliness; and, to the expressed astonishment of the noble, replied:- "The beautiful and pure idea must be in the mind, and then it matters not what the model may be."

I thank God for putting in your mind the vivid awareness of the beauty in the most common occurences.
Love Dad