As we were strolling around the grounds I happened to look down and saw something laying in the gravel. I thought about what I had seen for a moment as I walked and then I stopped, turned around, and took the picture you see here.
What do you think of when you see that puzzle piece laying there on the ground? Several things come to MY mind. My first thought was, "Somewhere there is a puzzle with only 999 pieces in it." That's rather obvious though. What else do you think of? I suppose it depends on the person doing the thinking. Here's the story I came up with. See what you think.
There is a young man in my life - a kids leftover from high school youth group. He's a good kid. I call him a "kid" but he's really a young man. I met with him yesterday and we talked for an hour or so. I've known this guy for several years now and I care for him a great deal.
My young friend has made some not-so-wise choices in his life - just like so many of us have. Only difference is . . . he got caught. He has been in trouble with the law on more than one occasion. Drugs, alcohol, broken home, jail time, you name it. HE is the lone puzzle piece. The rest of the "puzzle," his family, is scattered. There are puzzle pieces everywhere.
I think there is nothing my young friend would like more than to be part of an entire puzzle again. Part of a whole. Someplace where he could fit in and maybe start over. All he needs is for someone to show him a little grace and mercy. Hmm. Reminds me of a story.
"2 Early in the morning he (Jesus) came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” - John 8:1-11
As I look back on my encounter with the puzzle piece, I really didn't do the right thing. I took a picture of it. I wrote a story about it. But what should I have done? What would Jesus have done?
What I REALLY should have done was show mercy and grace to the lonely little puzzle piece, just like Jesus showed the woman in the story we just read. I should have picked up the piece and brought it home with me. And in REAL life, I should have done the same thing with my young friend.
It's too late to go rescue that puzzle piece from the flea market parking lot but it's not too late to show grace and mercy to my young friend. Won't you please join me in praying for him? Pleae pray for me too as I try to figure out how God wants me to show this young man the grace and mercy that God has shown ME.
Thank you. :)
The following song is written about a girl but it really could been sung about a guy too, as you will hear in the song's last line. Please listen to it, then ask yourself, as I did, "Is there anybody in the shadow of MY steeple who is "going down" today? God placed us here in this place to be Jesus in our own little part of this world. What would Jesus do if He met someone, a lone puzzle piece from shattered puzzle? Would there be grace? Mercy? Yes! So should it be with us.
Does Anybody Hear Her - Casting Crowns