Lessons From a Pooper-Scooper

September 7, 2016

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”


Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

…. Luke 7:36-47 (NIV)

With the advent of vinyl lettering, driving in a metropolitan area has become a lot more interesting! Not only do people advertise their interests with the stick figures in the back window, but they also advertise their businesses. From the Geek Squad at BestBuy© to the many home health care organizations their vehicles are distinct by their labels. But even more interesting to me than these big corporations are the many independent entrepreneurs who are able to advertise their small business. I’ve seen trucks that advertise a business that focuses only on garage doors. Then there was the one that just did pet doors. You wouldn’t think there would be enough business to pay for the sign- let alone to make a living doing this. But then we do love our pets in Colorado: so much so that I’ve seen not just one but a couple of trucks that advertise a business that goes around picking up poop! Who thinks of this as a business?

Well, the people who see this type of thing as a business opportunity are those with an entrepreneurial spirit- people who see the needs of others and recognize the opportunity to realize a profit (or a blessing?) by meeting the needs of others. To me, the gifts of an entrepreneur are at least two-fold:   first, they recognize and see the needs that other people have and second, they are willing to do something about meeting that need both to benefit the other and themselves. Often we focus on the second part of the entrepreneurial gift without giving credit for the first part, the openness to seeing the needs of others. This is to our detriment.

The women who washed Jesus’ feet was one of those people who recognized the needs of others (no, I’m not presuming anything about her lifestyle, but basing this on her actions in the story). Yes, her desire to wash the feet of the Master was about her gratitude and about her desire to be blessed by Him. Notice though that Jesus did point out that it was because she recognized His need and chose to do something about it that he was bestowing on her a great gift as well. Indeed, there seems to be a paradox in life that that our acts of mercy grow out of our having found forgiveness and forgiveness grows out of our acts of mercy.   I can’t explain why this is true, just recognize that it is! I fear that one of the challenges of the modern church is that we too closely resemble the Pharisee and no longer now how to be the one washing the feet of Jesus.   We’ve either lost our ability to see the needs of others or have somehow lost our desire and unction to do something about the mercy we ourselves have experienced.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the ability to see the needs of others and the compassion, desire and ability to do something about them. Let me wash your feet, even as you have washed my sins away. Amen.

Steve 2014

Reverend Dr. Steve Van Ostran

Executive Minister


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