Mission in the Morning

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Was Jesus a morning person?

So, can I be brutally honest with you?  I hate mornings.  I am not a morning person.  I think over time, because of kids and getting up for work, my body has learned to wake up in the morning.  But I am not a morning person.  And as much as I am high on anyone’s extrovert scale, I don’t like people in the morning.

I love my kids. I love my wife.  I work hard at being somewhat bearable in the morning.  I drink coffee and eat a piece of fruit and as the kids make their way to school I head to the gym to work out.

Because Jesus is perfectly loving…

We’ll call him Bill (not his real name).  He is a morning person. And, he likes to talk – a lot!  He works out in the morning where I do and he is HUGE.  At first it was fine.  For about the first year of going to the gym before I should even be awake, Bill would work his way around the fitness center chatting with everyone he knew.  He didn’t know me and so for months I thought I was safe.

Then one morning we both wanted to use the same machine, and he did it. He stepped over what I thought was the understood line and introduced himself.  With his hand outstretched (attached to a massively muscled arm) he said, “how ya doing?”  From that day forward we haven’t not talked when we see each other at the gym.

At first it was superficial.  Then he took the initiative and began to give me some pointers about my gym routine – and my eating.  Soon he began telling me he’s taking a class in college and struggling with it.  In between sets of cable crossovers I casually ask him, while gasping for breath, what class it is. Bill tells me he is in a creative writing class and had to read some essay about happiness from a “something David somethingorother.”  “Henry David Thoreau?” I ask.

He’s amazed at my knowledge at what he is reading and gives me a fist pound.

Jesus told us that because he is perfect, God will give us only good gifts.  Being on mission with him is one of those gifts!

Over the next several weeks Bill shares with me about the abuse in his childhood which led to his dropping out of school in the late 70’s.  Somewhere in the last decade or so he finally got his GED after 3 years of trying.  In the process of getting his GED they discovered he has a reading disorder called Dyslexia.  He’s taking a college writing class just to “better himself” and keep his mind active. I asked why a creative writing class if he doesn’t read well. He replied, “Why bother learning something you already know? That’s the point of school, to learn what you don’t know.”

Now my morning workout is filled with conversation, between sets of course, about the meanings of words, reading strategies (thanks to my reading teacher bride) and the meaning of what he is reading.  Bill is learning to read, really read, and I believe the Kingdom of God is coming in his life while we talk about “happiness.”

This morning he asked me what I do for a living. When I told him I am a pastor his response was…  Well, we’ll write about that another day maybe…


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