Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: Clueless Meets St. Francis
By Stevie McHugh
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Francis spurned a wealthy inheritance and followed the instructions Jesus gave his disciples (two by two, no money, no shoes). I could do that. I don’t have much wealth to begin with, and my feet would develop calluses.
Francis was patient, loving, and kind. I’ve raised three children and enjoyed much of the experience. Enough said?
Francis had respect for all creatures, and they responded to him in supernatural ways. I like animals.
Here’s where the catch comes in. Francis made serving Christ appealing at a time when the church was a laughing-stock because of widespread corruption. The main way he did this, it appears by all accounts, is that he embraced poverty.
That’s correct; he embraced poverty.
Never mind that it’s an unappealing prospect. The main point is I don’t have a fortune to forsake for Christ. Who would be impressed if I go from living paycheck-to-paycheck to living handout-to-handout?
I was planning a road trip and discovered that in not-too-distant San Antonio there are missions built in the 1700s by Franciscans – followers of St. Francis. Of course I visited the ancient structures and took a lot of pictures. I even met a Franciscan who was kind and seemed peaceful. His name is Friar Larry, and he probably knows the Prayer of St. Francis well, the one starting with “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.” Friar Larry wore a sweat suit but put on the traditional brown robe, belt made of rope, and hood so I could take a picture of him.
Bluebonnets were in bloom, and God made His presence known. The trip was special but didn’t lead me to the place of poverty I sought to embrace.
A desired opportunity to serve at church came up this week, one that requires submitting to someone who has been less than fair with me on many occasions.
My supervisor at work has of late made a practice of snubbing me. When it happened again this morning is when I got an answer to my prayer regarding how to embrace poverty.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus says in Matthew 5:3.
The poor in spirit are humble ones who don’t try to push God’s timing for promotion. They wait for God with patience and meekness. They aren’t easily angered. They surrender their rights, which are precious to Texans like myself.
‘If you’re poor in spirit,’ God whispered to my heart, ‘you’ll be embracing poverty. You’ll resemble St. Francis of Assisi and most importantly Jesus Christ.’
Thus I received an answer to my prayer. My obedience won’t require begging for food or going barefoot on hot concrete. However, I do plead with God for extra helpings of grace for this venture. I’m going to need it. After all, it doesn’t seem like I’ll make a big impact, and that’s what I was going for.
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