Shower the People with Love
Shower the People with Love
Music has always been an important part of my life. Through it, as a child, I escaped many saddening experiences. Music opened the doors of possibility to a brighter world, and it helped me create bonds of friendship. Today, I find comfort and inspiration; especially with contemporary Christian music.
When the opportunity to see James Taylor in concert recently presented itself, Annie and I bought our tickets. We made our way to the Amway Center, and spent the night at a hotel in Orlando so that we could enjoy the experience and not feel rushed to get back home.
At the concert, we made our way to our seats and managed to spend an hour talking to a couple that we had literally just met. We spoke of our children, current life situations and found many similarities with the couple. I had expected “our generation” to show up but as the arena filled, I was surprised by the number of young people that arrived; perhaps living proof that music spans generations.
As the concert began, James teleported us back to our youth, and though we knew better, we easily connected to those young people; perhaps we see ourselves not as we are but through the eyes of our youth. James didn’t just sing. He talked to us about his life experiences, he talked about his motivation, and he introduced us to his wife and dog. James told us the story of how the birth of his nephew, James, inspired him to write the song “Sweet Baby James”, and he told us about his father. He shared pictures of his parents and talked to us about how they supported and encouraged him, especially his father. He told us about how he convinced his parents to buy him a ticket to England, leaving with only his guitar. In listening to both his stories and his music, one could sense that James tried to honor and live out the teachings of his father. It reminded me of Proverbs 23:24 (GNT):
“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.”
It is difficult to list all the songs we heard this night, but I can tell you that the three songs stood out because of the applause and standing ovations of the audience. The first, “Shed a Little Light”, was a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and reminded us to “remember that we are all bound together.” The second song, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” sang of love, and finally, the show closed with “You’ve Got a Friend.”
For more than three hours, we were transfixed and bathed in the rhythm of the wholesome music. We were lost in the moment, and in the music. Little did we know that we were being “taken to school.” Yet on this night, we would be reminded that when God thinks its time for you to learn something there is no place you can hide. God knew how to reach us, and He knew where to find us; a reminder from Jeremiah 23:24 (GNT):
“No one can hide where I cannot see them. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and earth?”
As the concert ended, thousands of people began exiting the arena. We were all feeling pretty good, positive, and perhaps a little uplifted. As we proceeded toward our car, we could see the crowd parting, as if Moses had just parted the Red Sea. In the middle of the crowd, sitting on the sidewalk floor sat a man. He appeared unbathed and wearing dirty clothes. He may have been hungry, but he didn’t speak. He merely sat with an empty cup lifted seeking donations; by all indications he was homeless.
We saw him, but nothing seemed to register; like everyone, we walked past him talking about the concert. As if we had been hit by a bolt of lightning, we were frozen in our steps. We looked at each other and without saying a word knew that we had been convicted; reminded that (1 John 3:17 (MSG):
“If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
James’ words would also remind us, ““When your down and troubled, and you need a helping hand. You’ve got a friend”. As we turned and made our way back to him, he looked up at us and said, “God Bless You”; there was no way he could have known that He already had.
It is a simple reminder. It doesn’t matter where you want to lead, whether at home, work, or the church; there are no shortages of people that need help. It may be the child that needs your attention; turn off the tv and give it to them. It may be the employee sitting in the shadows of others, too afraid to ask for help; turn away from the e-mail and speak with them. Be present, if only for a few precious minutes.
How many times have you heard that our most important and precious resource is ________; you can fill in the blank (our people, children, veterans, employees, etc.) only to see them ignored or cast aside. Perhaps one of the most important leadership skills we can develop is the ability to stop, look and listen. The leadership lesson is quite simple; yet profound. It’s time to “wake up and pay attention” (lyrics from “Pay Attention). As James Taylor would sing let’s, “Shower the people, we love, with love”; but, “Let us stop saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (TLB).
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