This is an excerpt from a sermon I preached about a year ago, when the hurrican's had just finished their gulf coast demolition tour. I don't want to forget what I was feeling back then. Just thought you might not want to forget either.
I grew up in Lake Charles, LA, and we lived on Contraband Bayou. Legend had it that somewhere along the winding waters of Contraband Bayou, the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, buried his treasure. Now, you have to remember that I grew up in the 80’s, when The Goonies was a smash hit, and each weekend became a Goonies adventure for the kids in my neighborhood. We would pile in our canoes and boats and paddle down the bayou in search of this famous hidden treasure, and we were sure we would find it. But even if we didn’t find anything, at least we were doing something adventuresome, something that made us feel like a team on a quest bigger than ourselves.
I recently took a crew of guys to the Lake Charles area, and there they are pictured behind on the screens (display picture). We worked with a chainsaw crew from Tennessee, and helped clear trees from homes affected by the storms. Needless to say, my heart was broken as I drove past Contraband Bayou, only to find boats washed along the shore, and some of the biggest, most beautiful trees uprooted from the winds of Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita. Even worse was the damage done to the homes of close friends and family members.
My in-laws, in fact, suffered heavy damage to their home from an oak tree so large that its root system extended taller than the roof of the house. My Uncle passed away because he couldn’t get access to the necessary medical treatment that would have sustained his life. We hosted family and friends who were displaced by the storms. When I tell you that these storms hit hard, I’m not talking about the land that was destroyed as a result of their intensity, I ‘m speaking of the impact they’ve had on my heart.
I watched, just like many of you, the mayhem that descended upon the city of New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina. And as we watched, most of us felt strongly that we needed to do something. And so we did. As a staff, we met to determine what, if anything could be done to make a difference in the lives of those displaced by the terrible storm. Instead of crying, “that’s a shame”, and turning the channel to a prime time sit-com, we gathered together to help meet the medical, housing, and emotional needs of those in our midst, and it was beautiful.
And what I’d like to propose to you is that we continue to seek out the needs of those who are hurting all around us. Let’s not be content to help only when a national crisis hits, but like kids searching Contraband Bayou for hidden treasure, may we begin to search this metroplex for the everlasting treasure of serving our community together.
Acts 4 tells us of a people who were united in heart and mind. People who were passionately pursuing God’s best for their world. And that is our mission as well. As we dedicate this day to prayer, can we fix our hearts on the heart of God, and commit to serve this community in all that we do. May we never be more concerned about filling up this auditorium than we are about the thousands of people who live within miles of our doors who haven’t felt the loving touch of Christ.
Can we be treasure hunters by committing ourselves to God’s work in the world around us? In the words of John of the Cross, “May God himself awaken your sleeping soul, so that you see with the eyes of faith the multitude of excellent virtues that are found in Him. May He wake you – those who have ears to hear – with thousands and thousands of voices, each one shouting about one of the countless ways that He and all His works are good… and only good.” The voices are shouting... may we have ears to hear.