RITE OF PASSAGE: My special gift
I have come to believe that I have an unusual gift. No, it’s not a spiritual gift as listed in the Bible, and it’s not the gift of music, art or anything useful. In fact, I really see no value in this gift except that it’s . . . fun. My unusual gift involves running into people I know in the strangest places . . . all around the world. My wife says she can’t go anywhere with me because we are always running into . . . someone we know.
Allow me to give you an example of this gift. One year, I was in Budapest, Hungary taking a group of students to the Fisherman’s Castle, set high on a hill overlooking the Danube River and the Parliament Building. I always take students here so we can pray over the city as Jesus prayed over Jerusalem.
As I stood there in the midst of a crowd, I heard someone yelling my name, “WALKER MOORE.” I responded with an equally loud “YO.” (“Yo” means “good,” a word I try to use a lot in every culture). Again, I heard my name, “WALKER MOORE,” even closer and louder this time. I responded with another resounding “YO.” Suddenly, I was standing face to face with a friend from Winter Garden, Fla. whom I hadn’t seen in years. My friend told me that he saw a bunch of student missionaries and thought he would yell my name to see if I happened to be among them. In a city of 2 million plus, he and I had . . . a glorious reunion.
Another year, I was serving with the European Baptist Convention, helping with their annual youth camp in Grindelwald, Switzerland. After a hard day of camp, I went across the street to have a cup of coffee. I have spent many years working in this camp, and a friend of mine owns the little caf‚. As I was sitting there, I heard someone speaking English. When you serve in a foreign country for a while, you really miss hearing the English language, so I walked over and asked these English speakers if I could sit with them. They responded graciously, and we started inquiring about each other’s travels.
Of course, the first question you ask when you meet another American overseas is, “Where are you from?” The couple responded, “Oh, we are from Texas.”
I responded, “Oh, I used to live in Texas” and asked my new friends, “Where in Texas are you from?” They told me they came from a small town that I had probably never heard of. I said. “I used to live in a small town in Texas that most people have never heard of.” Again, I asked them, “What small town do you come from?”
Finally, they told me. “We live in a little East Texas town called Quitman.”
I nearly fell off my chair. I yelled excitedly, “That is the small town where I used to live!”
Of course, they asked me what I did when I lived there. I told them, “I was the youth and children’s pastor at First Baptist Church.” The young lady said, “I go to that church!”
I told her, “There used to be a cute little girl by the name of Gaye Ballard who sat on the front row every Sunday for Children’s Church.”
She looked at me and said, “I am Gaye Ballard.” Again, several thousand miles from home, and again . . . a glorious reunion.
Recently, I have learned a new term from some of my business friends: relational equity. Life travels on relational equity. The more time, energy and concern you have invested in another person, the more equity you have built up when it is your turn to need help. Meeting someone (even several thousand miles from home) with whom you have relational equity moves not only the heart, but the spirit.
Maybe, just maybe, Jesus understood relational equity when He told us that the world would know His followers by their love. You see, the body of Christ is built upon relational equity. I invest in you, and you invest in me. We can do this because “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). You see, our Father has relational equity in . . . us.
Father, help me to teach my children the importance of building relational equity with Jesus and with others who love Him, too. That way, when He returns, the reunion will be . . . glorious.