This past weekend was the annual Labor Day Flea Market. It engulfs Hillsville with busy-ness and frenzy. 500,000 people descend upon our little town to spend money and eat things like fried butter, blooming onions and fried snicker bars. The town turns into a circus of sorts. Two weeks prior to the event people start coming in and setting up their vendor booths and tents and the town transforms into a place of buying, selling, eating and total chaos. The older I get the less I like it. This year it reminded me of Babylon.
My involvement in the flea market this year was minimal. On Saturday morning I got up, loaded my easel and chalk onto the truck and set up at BB&T to draw about God. In the previous week I felt like God was nudging me to do that and it felt a little crazy. I soon realized that the reason for me doing it was two-fold. The first was to share God with people in a different way. The second was to break my heart for God’s people. God designed those few hours to move my heart over a mountain. It’s not about me. It’s about God. I have realized how selfish I have been with keeping God to myself and using fear as an excuse. Ouch. God did not send his Son to earth for me to keep him hidden in my heart. He came so that we might have life and the only way we can have life is to share that Good News with others. It is our responsibility. Our duty as Christians.
This weekend I saw spiritual decay with eyes wide open. It was clear that the drawing was causing heads to turn-most in the other direction. A few commented and I had some interesting conversations with those who were curious. Most people just wanted to get to the flea market. I have a good friend who street preaches and I got a little glimpse of what he must see every time he goes out. I have been judgmental of him and how he goes about it, but today I have a new understanding of why he does it and where his passion comes from. God has called him to be bold and he is doing it no matter what I think or anyone else thinks. I know people think he is crazy because I did too. But I don’t anymore because when God gets a hold of your heart you have to do what he is telling you to do or else.
I know I was supposed to do this and now I know why. I have a tendency to look at life through rose colored glasses and what I saw was definitely not rosy! God opened my heart to see what he sees. Some people are chasing after trinkets, food and junk to fill a void in their lives. That void is where Jesus should be. Their flame for God has dwindled. It is my job to fan the flame, to blow on it so it will grow higher & fuller and leap out of people’s hearts. In all honesty, this is the first year that I have not filled my own void with the flea market and it’s wares. I was not compelled to go there at all, only to do this drawing. My own flame was tired and dwindling and in the past month it has been re-ignited by experiences and the people around me. We all need encouragement. No one is perfect and no one follows God 100% all the time. This is why we are the Body of Christ. We are to lift each other up in love and prayer. We are to hold each other to a higher standard than the world has for us. A standard of love that God sent down from heaven to teach us how to live. The highest standard imaginable. We can’t do this alone and it is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. God gave us the Holy Spirit to equip us for the work he has planned for us to do. Work that was planned long before the earth was formed. It is unimaginable-isn’t it?
Do you know that Jesus never used his own power while here on earth? He knew he had to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do what God had called him to do. If he had tapped into his own power he would have cancelled out the magnificent plans that God has for the world. We wouldn’t have a Savior. Can you imagine knowing you had the power and choosing NOT to call on it when you knew you were going to die a horrible death? Think about that for a few minutes. How many of us would do that? Not me. Jesus fully relied on God. Am I?
Jesus had to live as a man on earth. His title was servant. He came to teach, to love, to heal, to encourage, to free and to give life to those who wanted it. God never forces his way on us-he gives us free will to choose between life and death. What are you choosing? I pray that it is life. The life that we live here is in no way comparable to the life we will have after we leave this place. Heaven or hell-either way it will not be what it is here. It’s your choice.
In all fairness there are good things that happen at the flea market too. My church raises money for local missions by parking cars all weekend long. This money helps various needs in the community. The flea market does bring people in to spend their money here-helping the local economy. I can’t help but think what we could do if we spent an entire Labor Day weekend doing something out of the ordinary. Something like helping our neighbors in need instead of spending money on things we don’t need. In the end the money we spend on worthless things will kill us with clogged arteries and empty wallets.
Let’s make a choice to share God with all we meet-even at Flea Market time-let’s choose to compel others to move forward in their walk with God-to fan flames and ignite passions. We can do this together and with the help of the Holy Spirit. Our Pastors and leaders need our help-the spiritual neediness in this country requires all of God’s people to be busy with HIS work. The needs are too great and all hands, hearts, minds, and feet are needed to get the job done!
This was inspired by a line in a hymn: God’s love is LIVING FLAME in our hearts.
His love is alive and active and it is where our passion comes from. Without it we are nothing but dead limbs. The higher our flame for God is, the more sparks the fire will release and we all know that those sparks have to land someplace. Like seeds being sown in a field, they can either produce a fire or go out. It depends on where they land. I pray that they land on the driest limbs and consume them with the fire of the Holy Spirit. God can, does and will change hearts! Fire is alive and it consumes everything it touches. It cannot be started without a spark. May YOU be the spark that lights up another’s heart!
BE a living flame for God!
I dare you!