Pastor Nate straightened out my thinking today.
He was talking about Jesus feeding the 5,000. He pointed out that the disciples were not expected to perform a miracle. Jesus went about doing just that: blessing the 5 loaves and 2 little fishes, and turning them into a feast for the crowd. He merely expected the disciples to do what they knew how to do: distribute and serve the food to the people. "That's all he expects of us," explained Pastor Nate. Just do what you know how to do in your ministry. Jesus will do the rest."
I needed to hear that.
I get so frustrated as we work with prisoners.
I want to change the hearts of cruel prison doctors who with-hold treatment or cancel prescriptions.
I want to find a way to train guards better so they don't abuse the mentally ill.
I want to persuade Parole Board members that dying prisoners are not a threat to society, and should be permitted to die at home surrounded by loved ones, rather than in the cold infirmary of a dark and dank prison.
I want to change the opinion of legislators who believe that there's nothing wrong with placing a young teenager in prison for life with no chance of parole.
I want to explain to prison officials that there's a whole group of older sex offenders behind bars who are scared to death of gang-bangers who prey on them while officers look the other way.
I could go on and on.
But as Nate explains it, Matt and I don't have to fret about all of those things, as we handle the day to day prisoner issues in the HFP office. All Jesus expects of us is to do what we know how to do, and that is to reach out to these prisoners in his name, showing kindness to them, and helping them with all the resources at our disposal.
It's the best we can do. It's the only thing we can do.
He'll do the rest. Just as he has in the past.
Thanks be to God.