The bumper sticker was on the back of a very old, beautiful car - baby blue, chrome, and a proud driver at the wheel. It requested, "Look, but please do not touch!"
Understandable, I guess. It was his car, to be admired from a distance. But I wondered, what's wrong with touching? Will it really hurt the car? Are dirt and fingerprints all that bad? It is, after all, a car- driven on roads that are not exactly clean.
Why did this phrase distract me from being the safe driver that I am? Because it struck me - most Christians carry this request as well.
Look, but please do not touch!
Look at me and the life that I live, but please do not touch it! Please do not make it dirty by getting close! Admire, but keep your distance! I don't want to risk losing my shine by getting involved in your mess.
There is no reward for staying the cleanest.
There are, however, crowns for compassion, blessings for loving as Jesus loved, and fulfillment in filling the needs of others. Getting involved in the lives around me is why I am here on earth for the blink of an eye. I have been blessed to be a blessing. Reaching out to touch another life is one of the best ways to stop being concerned about what is happening, or not happening, in my life.
Compassion and worry cannot coincide.
And honestly, but for the grace of God, it could be me. I could be the one needing food, a job, hope. I could have made bad choices, leading to rough circumstances. I could still lose everything this world deems valuable. What, really, is guaranteed this side of Heaven?
I want a different sign: one that says, "Look. Come close. Find help and hope."
When my days on Earth are over, I want to enter Glory with finger smudges, tear streaked cheeks, and calloused knees.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? (Matthew 5:46a NIV)
Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (Matthew 5:48b MSG)
God of compassion, shape my heart after yours. I want to risk getting involved in the mess of brokenness around me. Give me a love that cannot be explained in this world, which prides itself on spotlessness. Show me where I need to think less of myself and more of others. You are especially fond of each and every one of them. Amen.