Finding Fitzy

I had never talked to him and didn’t know his name just calling him “Basket Man” because he was always carrying bundles of handmade basketry up and down the street. “Hey white man where you going in such a hurry?” he yelled as I had rushed by him in the big Ford van leaving him in a dusting of diesel smoke and fumes. I was busy and didn’t have time to be hassled with someone trying to sell me something. Teams would be coming to Jamaica in waves and projects had to be finalized with materials delivered while housing had to be set-up and vans gone over and readied. Time was a commodity short and precious needing to be used wisely. I was busy and didn’t have time for people right now! Couldn’t everyone see I was trying to help them and serve them so they just needed to leave me alone!

Maybe you already deduced that being somewhat overwhelmed and in demand I had lost sight of the important blurred by the tyranny of the immediate. I had developed a list of priorities while being composed of good and noble things had become skewed with busyness falling short of why we had gone to Jamaica in the first place – to share Jesus. We too often equate doing good things with actually sharing the gospel. These behind the scenes tasks are a must but are not the ends to which we are striving. Ultimately people are most important, their needs, struggles, joys and souls. We have to be able to realize when busyness becomes a complicating sin nosing out what we as Christians when all’s said and done should be pursuing.

It was a couple of weeks later while stopping at the same corner that I spied “Basket Man” up the road. Pulling over and waiting he ambled toward me loaded with screw pine leaves used to make basket strands for weaving. Over time I became friends with Fitzy visiting his home meeting Jenny and their son Jason. I was able to be there when Jenny was in the hospital and when Jason got a “pass” on the CXE exam. Fitzy’s friendship not only introduced me to his incredible craftsmanship but wove me into the tapestry of their lives and their neighborhood allowing me to no longer stand out as a “white man” but platted in as a friend. Fitzy was able to sell baskets to teams helping his family tremendously financially while offering a portal to the culture that I could never have opened by my own plans or agenda. Just think what we all would have all missed if I would have stubbornly stuck to my priorities encumbered by busyness and “good deeds.”

Jesus’ priority for us from His own words is to “…go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Making disciples (our goal) happens in relationships; relationships happen over time by spending time. As Church people we have to be be aware that programs, events and the sign out front with witting sayings are not meeting the purpose laid out before us by Jesus of their selves. These “good things” are attempts at sharing the gospel but stop short of making disciples. We often like the “events” because they create an atmosphere of busyness and the illusion we are completing the commission from Jesus. Sometimes busyness is easier than relationships. Are you ignoring a potential relationship because you are too busy and you think the time would be too great an investment? What are you actually investing your time in? Has busyness become a complicating sin nosing out what you should really be pursuing? Maybe you just need to stop and see who ambles toward you with an eye on Jesus’ priorities not ours.

John Key signature

This weekly devotion is written by John Key

John Key Photo