As we prepared to lead a weekend retreat for our students, I gathered our leaders in a huge circle and asked them to close their eyes and hold out their hands.
I took an old dishrag covered in Karo syrup and dirt, and I went around the circle and rubbed it all over each leader's hands.
They all twisted their faces in to the most disgusted looks, and everyone around heard their sighs and groans.
Then, I told them to join hands and pray. I prayed and prayed and prayed some more--I prayed for everyone I knew and didn't know.
When I said "Amen", everyone let go and stared at me.
I asked, "How many of you heard a single word I said?"
"Nooooo," they all said in unison.
Friend, the dirt on their hands represents the sin in our lives. The moment life gets sticky, all we can think about is ourselves and how uncomfortable we are, how bad we feel, and we stop thinking about others.
When we are covered in sin, we can't hear others, can't offer anything to them because we are only concerned with meeting our own needs.
This world is full of people with their own issues and their own worries. If we aren't where we should be in our walk with Jesus, we're not going to be able to love on them and help them. Dig deep, reach out!
Philippians 2:4 "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."
Mark Hall, Casting Crowns