By Lindsey Strickler, FAITH RXD Marketing and Media Director, average athlete, and dedicated fitness enthusiast.
Mayhem for Freedom is a fundraising event put on by Mayhem Missions for Rescue: Freedom. We invite you to join in on the fight to end global human slavery, and loving the vulnerable. Every day, women and children endure sexual, physical, and emotional abuse without an end in sight. But you can help. Through your participation, funds are raised to save someone’s life, and awareness expands to bring light to a dark issue facing our world.
If you aren’t able to participate this weekend, you can still do the workout, and if you feel led, donate to Mayhem Missions here: https://www.mayhemmission.org/
Mayhem for Freedom
40 Thrusters (45/35)
20 Sit Ups
40 Air Squats
100 Line Hops/Jumping Jacks
What do the numbers mean?
12 – An average of 12 people are freed each week.
20 – Over 20 countries where Rescue Freedom is actively fighting.
40 – Estimated 40 million people currently enslaved around the world.
In the first message on love this month, we talked about The Ultimate Act of Love done by Jesus on the cross. If you look at Jesus’ ministry leading up to his death and resurrection, you’ll see how his focus was on the outcast and the unaccepted people groups in society. He heals the demon possessed, he heals servants, he raises a widow’s son from the dead, he forgives a prostitute, he spends his time with people that others went out of their way to avoid. He doesn’t just live a life for his disciples to emulate though, he also verbally challenges them to live that way as well.
A few days ago, I read our passage in Luke 10 that we’re looking at during my quiet time, and the Parable of the Good Samaritan stood out. I’ve read it many times before, but because we’re in a time of looking at the Faith Skill, love, the love exhibited in the passage made it stand out even more.
I left my quiet time to go meet up with friends to do the Mayhem for Freedom WOD. On my way, I passed an elderly woman who looked like she might have been homeless. I had all the excuses I could find going through my head to justify not stopping. I was alone. Being a woman, I don’t make it a habit of offering people I don’t know a ride. She’s on the street corner so she’s probably waiting for someone. The list went on and I crossed the bridge, and turned the corner to my gym.
Matthew 25:40 went through my head like the sledgehammer on the metal track move during an event at the 2017 CrossFit Games, “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” When I kept driving, not only was I ignoring my neighbor, I was also ignoring an opportunity to love Jesus himself.
I turned my car around, and went back. I found her trying to walk across the highway bridge. She was so frail and the wind so strong she was having a hard time making it with all her shopping bags and the dog bag she was dragging. I pulled over, and got out of my car to take to her. She was dirty, her nails contorted, and had sores on her arms. I smiled big and asked if I could give her a ride home and asked if she needed anything.
I couldn’t see her through her mask, but I heard a muffled, “Thank you, ma’am, that would be so nice. I helped her into my car. She was so sweet and told me about her family and that she just turned 66. I was surprised because I would have thought she was 80. She started telling me about a Bible someone had just given her for her birthday.
We said goodbye and I went and worked out. Instead of cooling down at the gym/doing mobility like I normally do after a workout, I just felt like I really needed to head home. So I left and I passed Theresa again walking to the gas station, so I pulled over and chatted with her. I again gave her a ride home after she had purchased the items she needed.
Once we were back her house, we started talking about how she wanted to be an angel one day. I asked her if she had learned about Jesus in the Bible she was given. She had. So I shared the gospel with her and we talked about how it’s not about being a good person, it’s just believing in Jesus as the son of God who came and died for our sins so that we can be united with God.
There’s more that I wanted to do, but I knew that today, this was all I was to do. I’m praying about other ways I can show Theresa love. She’s literally my neighbor just down the street, and anything I do for her, it’s as if I’m doing it for the God who came and rescued me. Someone who’s heart was even dirtier and more contorted than any physical state someone can be in. I get to show him gratitude when I love other people.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, when you may not know is that Samaritan and Jews didn’t get along. The Jews looked down upon the Samaritans and treated them horribly. Yet the Samaritan didn’t let that hold him back from loving a man who was dieing on the side of the road. This man’s own people didn’t stop to help him, but someone that he may have even viewed as his enemy, did.
The Good Samaritan let himself be inconvenienced. He went way beyond anything I did for Theresa. I just gave her a ride and conversation. The Good Samaritan cared for this man’s injuries and paid for a place for him to heal.
We live in crazy times right now. There’s a lot of differing opinions about how our world, and our country should be run. Yet, regardless of our politics, or our views, or our backgrounds, as believers, we are called to love our neighbors. The parable of the Good Samaritan was shared to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Everyone that God puts in your path. Everyone you can impact. Anyone God gives you an opportunity to interact with, that is your neighbor. Not someone who lives in a similar house, registered for the same political party, or has the same background as you.
Theresa is someone to love that God put in my path. And serving her with joy and a smile is the honor God gave me, and a physical opportunity to love him. These sections in Luke, these chapters address the inconvenience, and awkwardness of love. We’re called to embrace it wholeheartedly.
Every day we pass people who need our love, our compassion, and our care. They may not be as obvious as Theresa. Instead, for you it may be a coworker, a family member, someone at the gym, someone at your child’s school, or maybe someone at church. Maybe you’re in a situation where life is too comfortable, and you need to actively put yourself in a situation to love your neighbor.
Let’s choose lives of inconvenience. Let’s show our gratitude for what God’s done for us in sending his son, by loving the people he created.
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
- What was the workout like for you? Did God reveal anything to you while you did it?
- Was there anything new that stuck out to you today during the message?
- Is there someone in your life God has been bringing to your mind to love better?
- What ways were you challenged by today’s message?