Savior or Servant?
Not that long ago, in the biggest city in the world, lived a young boy named Robby. Growing up in a tall building full of family, Robby was loved by all. The building was filled with Robby’s, aunts, uncles and so many cousins that he couldn’t remember all their names. Living in a comfortable apartment with his Mom, Dad and three sisters who were his best friends, even when they were teasing him.
Robby truly loved everyone in his family, but his favorite was GranPa Jacob. GranPa Jacob shined love through his big beautiful blue eyes, always having a kind word and smile for anyone he met. After school, Robby would run as fast as he could to get home and hug his GranPa.
Robby would always find GranPa Jacob up on the roof, taking care of his pigeons. Jacob was a Pidgeon Fancier. Like his father, and his father, and his father’s, father’s father, Jacob raised pigeons. Before there was a city, Jacob’s family provided pigeons that carried messages near and far. For hundreds of years, before “smart phones”, these “smart birds” carried information throughout the world.
While feeding the pigeons, GranPa Jacob would tell Robby the miraculous stories of how God used the Pigeons to communicate important news as far as the East is from the West. Jacob always telling Robby, it was the pigeons, God used to build our great country and God’s family.
No longer messengers, Jacob’s pigeons were now rented out as “Release” pigeons. When most people would see beautiful white doves fly in celebration of this or that. They weren’t doves at all, just beautiful white pigeons trained by Robby’s GranPa.
After a few years, Granpa’s legs could no longer take him to the top of the building to care for his flock. Robby was now the Pigeon Fancier. How it made GranPa smile to hear Robby’s stories of his days with the pigeons. The gleam in Robby’s eyes always reminded GranPa of the time when he first became a pigeon fancier.
One day, Robby bounced down the stairs, hopping into the apartment gleefully yelling, “GranPa, GranPa, you’ve got to come see this!” GranPa smiled saying, “My dear Robby, GranPa just can’t climb those stairs anymore. What’s all the excitement about?” “Well, I started to feed the Pigeons just like every day, and there it was. The most beautiful White pigeon ever!” Robby exclaimed. Catching his breath, Robby continued, “Oh GranPa, this pigeon is so beautiful! It’s big and its feathers are whiter than GranMa’s best sheets. It’s truly the most beautiful bird ever!”
GranPa smiled saying, “Now, take really good care of that beautiful bird Robby. One day we’ll have you bring it down for all of us to see.”
A few days later GranPa heard sobbing coming from the stairs. Walking over to investigate, there was Robby, sitting on the stairs. Robby could hardly speak as he blurted out, “He’s dying GranPa. My beautiful pigeon is dying!”
“There, there Robby, I’m sure he will be okay” GranPa said with a hug and a comforting smile. “You don’t understand, he won’t move, he looks awful!” Robby sobbed.
“Well, let’s go see what’s going on with this little guy.” GranPa said as he started up the stairs. “GranPa, your legs?” Out of breath, GranPa whispered, “Robby, some things are worth a little pain.”
Opening the door, seeing the little bird in a lump next to his perch. GranPa said with a twinkle in his eye. “Robby, your beautiful Pigeon is no Pigeon at all. It’s a Dove.”
“I’m no bird doctor Robby, but I do know Pigeons and they love Comfort; while Doves love freedom.” Explaining the differences between Pigeons and Doves, GranPa went on…
“You see Robby, Pigeons depend on us for their food and comfort. It is our job to take care of the pigeons. We have worked to know what the Pigeon’s need. Sometimes, better than they do. We help them and feed them and provide a Pigeonhole that is just right for them.”
GranPa continued… “Doves are not like Pigeons, they need freedom. Freedom is not something we can give; it can only be taken away. To truly take care of all birds, Pigeons and Doves, first we must understand their needs. Our job is to provide what they need, when they need it. We are to serve the Pigeons and Doves, help them when we can. Like with your beautiful bird, sometimes without understanding their individual needs, we force what we believe is best on a Dove by mistake. The same Pigeonhole that gives comfort to Pigeons, will Kill the Dove. It is only when we give the Dove what it needs, Freedom, that the Dove will thrive and prosper. You see Robby, a Dove that is truly loved always returns home.”
The Moral of the Story….
Empathy – Savior or Servant?
Without taking time to understand one another; before we seek to be understood, we can hurt loved ones while believing we are helping them. Empathy is not sympathy, nor feeling sorry for others. By working to understand someone first, we can then respond to their specific needs. With love, we must follow Christ’s example to help others at the level of their needs, not our opinion of their needs. It is when we understand and meet the needs of those we serve, we are loving others as Jesus first loved us.
Not that long ago, in a city near you, Pastor Jake Brown was in a car wreck. Before medics could save him, Jake died.
To his surprise, Jake woke up in a beautiful meadow covered in green grass, with fruit trees of every kind as far as the eye could see. The ripe, juicy fruit covered the ground. There were apples, oranges, pears and figs. Any fruit Jake could imagine was there.
Walking around the charming forest, Jake discovered that the meadow was full of people from around the world. Every size, race and religion were well represented. Seeing all the people, Jake thought “This must be Heaven. After all, it truly is a land of beauty and abundance.” Although, Jake noticed something very odd. Thinking to himself, “if this was Heaven why does everyone look so sad and grumpy?” Then, Jake observed that all the people in the meadow had no elbows. “How peculiar” he thought. Then, he saw that no one could pick up the fruit to eat it. “No wonder they are so grumpy. I’d be grumpy too!”
Walking up to one of the men in the meadow, Jake asked, “Excuse me sir, is this Heaven?” “Hell!” the man grouched. “Well there’s no reason to swear at me, it was just a question.” Jake said in bewilderment. “No!, this is not Heaven, this is Hell!” the man snapped. “How awful,” Jake thought. “Hell is spending eternity wanting and craving something you cannot have.”
At that very moment, a blinding white light flashed. In the blink of an eye, Jake was swept away to another meadow. This meadow was lush and green with trees full of all kinds of fruit. Fruit covered the ground, just like the last meadow. Looking around Jake noticed that there was a big difference. Everyone in this meadow was exceedingly happy and joyful.
All were singing and worshipping as they walked through the tall green grass. “This must be Heaven!” Jake exclaimed. With that, another blinding light flashed, and Jake heard a woman’s voice… “Pastor Brown, Pastor Brown, are you with us?”
Suddenly, Jake was surrounded by noise and commotion and flashing lights above him. Blinded by the lights, Jake realized that he was on a gurney in a hospital rolling down the hallway. Nurses, Doctors and Paramedics were rushing him to emergency surgery.
Waking up in a hospital bed the next day, Jake wondered if the meadow was just a dream? A few weeks later, Jake was telling his best friend Barney about what had happened in the meadows.
Jake asked, “if one was Hell, the other must certainly be heaven, right?” Curiously, Barney answered, “So in this Heaven, all the people must have elbows, right?” to Barney’s dismay, Jake answered “The people were all the same, except for their overflowing joy. No one had elbows in Heaven either.” Barney blurted out, “How can that be? Everyone had to be hungry too?!” “That’s just it Barney.” Jake replied, “No one seemed hungry in Heaven at all. Everyone was picking up the fruit and feeding each other.”
The Moral of the Story….
TRUST – A Reason to Believe
When we are surrounded by people we trust, people who are looking out for our needs and not their own. we are blessed to flourish and grow without fear, doubt and want; bringing God’s Joy, Peace and Love to All.
Based on the Allegory of the Long Spoons, attributed to Rabbi Haim of Romshishok, as well as other sources.