I have had breakfast, lunch and dinner with many awesome men who are walking in the path of Jesus.
These men of God are men you all would want to have on your short list of people to share a meal with.
Personally I am constantly wanting to surround myself with wiser kinder people then myself.
May be hard to believe but I struggle every day...
There are days I don't want to get out of bed...
Perhaps it is my struggle with depression - or the real J.R. who has to force himself to be outgoing.
No it does not come naturally for me, I have to work every day on being a good person.
Don't get me wrong, at 61, I have a pretty good handle on this struggle, but I love finding out how other men of God are dealing with life.
One such man is Father Charles Strobel.
... and I had breakfast with him this past week.
Years ago when I was introduced to this man, my business partner H David Smith, Charlie embraced me and took me into his circle of friends.
Lets stop here for a second... and let you in on a few lessons I have learned from this man.
LESSON 1 - Ask yourself "Am I embracing people and letting them into my circle?"
Just a question I have to constantly ask myself.
Back to Strobel.
Back in the early 90's I was asked to help the The Room in the Inn Board with marketing material to help rase money for the new building. It was a clean white color project.
I say that because as I entered the compound, i would quickly walk though the hundreds of homeless people hanging at the doors, avoiding eye contact, avoiding pan handlers and quickly enter the office with a sign of relief.
Through this process I got to know Father Strobel.
Our first meeting I walk out and said to myself... "I was just in the presence of Jesus" -
Now some of my conservative Souther Baptist friends may question my faith when I'm so enthusiastic about this Catholic Priest but I am reminded what Paul from the Bible said to some people -
"if you don't understand who this Jesus fellow is - just follow me for a week and you will get it".
Wow! That I could ever be so bold.
But if you want to see who the man we call Jesus was all about - spend just a day with Father Strobel.
It was this man that showed me how to have a heart for people with struggles.
LESSION 2 - Strive to walk this life like Jesus did.
At this breakfast we talked about so much. One thing stood out, this man struggled with life just like the rest of us. Isn't it great to know that you are not alone?
LESSION 3 - Open up to others and let them peek behind the smiley face you have. Your honesty of your struggles may encourage another person to persevere.
Finally we started talking about the legalism that some faiths impose on their followers.
He gave me some great insight on the subject.
The Good Samaritan story is one that we are all so familiar with.
You remember the story, a man was in a ditch - beaten and perhaps near death.
People passing by ignored him, some moving to the other side of the street .
We focus on the people who passed with out helping with indignation.
How could they not stop?
Then YEA! Finally!
A good man - the good guy stops and helps the man - taking him to a place that would help him heal and paying for his care.
Father Strobel pointed out that there was much more to the story than bad people passing him by and a good man helping.
He explained that in the culture of the day - you didn't get near an unclean person. It was the Law...
So in a way - the people passing by were obeying the law.
Now here is the Kicker..
My friend sitting across from me as we ate our eggs and drank our coffee said to me.
"There is doing what is right... and then there is doing what is good."
In the oppressive law of the day - you don't touch the unclean.
But what was right as a human was to help this beaten man.
LESSON 4 - Ask yourself - Who are we walking past? How can we walk past those in need?
We must extend our hand to those in need - without hesitation - without question - without judgment.
Lord help me JR Davis to not walk past anyone in need.
I hope you pray that prayer yourself.
Thank you Father Strobel for your friendship, mentoring over the years and example you show us all every day.
Activists for homeless - inmates and the poor of this world.