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I am not one to spend time on YouTube, surf the Internet, watch videos when they appear on my Facebook feed, nor click on random clips just for fun. BUT, I will have to say that for whatever reason, I did hit “play” on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKejPcknbko

I am glad I did! The look on the homeless man’s face was perfection! I could tell he was uncomfortable at first surrendering his bucket to a stranger, then uncomfortable again when the guitarist sat on the other side of him, then again as the young man shook his hand. Or was it shock? Shocked that someone noticed him. Shocked that someone cared. Shocked that someone wanted to sit next to him and touch him.

The phrase the young man asked the homeless man, “May I borrow your bucket for a bit?”, has not left my mind since I saw that video two months ago.

The homeless man was in a big city on a crowded street. Some people’s reaction to the homeless man could have been: “Get off the sidewalk- go to a shelter or something!” or “You stink! Move away!” or “Get a job!” or “You’re just a beggar, no one cares about you!”.

And yet, this young Christian man sat down next to him and asked the homeless man if he could borrow his bucket. The young, Christian man gave him an invitation. Hesitantly, the homeless man accepted. “May I borrow your bucket for a bit?” was the invitation.

His bucket. Reminds me of a current trend: having a “bucket list”. I have always been anti-bucket list. Never could sit down and write a list of things “I want to do” or “I want to have” or “I want to meet” or “I want to go”. Too many “I’s” for me. Something I have learned in this 40 + years on this Earth is that God can and will “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20).

Back to the bucket in the video clip. The homeless man was asked to give up temporarily one of his only possessions. It held his sleeping mat. Maybe on good days, it held lots of coins. His bucket represented his homelessness. The bucket represented something shameful; he had no where to call home. He had no where to lay his head at night. He had no where to invite strangers over.

The bucket is symbolic for anything in anyone’s life that reflects emptiness, neediness, loneliness, hopelessness, and shamefulness.

The one object that symbolized the homeless man’s lack, his need, his inability to even care for himself, was the one object that the Christian asked to borrow. The Christian invited himself to borrow the one item that symbolized the man’s hopelessness. It was an invitation the homeless man could have refused for the sake of pride or fear. But, he didn’t. He humbly gave to the Christian his empty bucket.

Do you or I need to give someone or Someone, namely Jesus Christ, our pride, our fear? Do we need to hand over our empty wallet, empty home, empty talent, empty marriage, empty dream, empty stomach, empty soul, or empty heart?

The Christian, young man in the video literally turned the homeless man’s bucket upside down! He turned it upside down and made beautiful music with it! The bucket was revolutionized. The bucket was revived. The bucket was profitable. The bucket was filled. The bucket in another man’s hands became a miracle story.

What once was a symbol of shame could be turned into a symbol of grace.

Instead of being the generation of “My bucket list” takers, let’s be the generation of “Borrow your bucket” fillers.

What can you and I do to fill someone’s bucket? What can we do to turn someone’s life upside down? What can we do to share the hope of Jesus Christ? What can we do to invite someone in their worst to show them we care and so does Jesus? What can we do to find someone who feels shameful and offer grace?

It is by invitation. If the person refuses your help, move on. Just as Jesus invites us to accept Him as Lord and Savior, we either receive or refuse. He doesn’t force Himself on us.

“Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55: 1-3).

If/When God leads you to bless someone by filling his/her bucket, please feel free to share it in the comment section of this blog!

In today’s technology we have the iphone, ipad, ipod, itouch, imac, and ibook. As you know, this generation of students and young adults (born between 1980 – 2003) are called the Y Generation. Tim Elmore in his newest book adds another letter by calling this generation the “iY Generation”. Of course the “i” stands for Internet, but I also can’t help but think that it also reveals who is first priority in the lives of most teenagers and young adults (& unfortunately in adults as well)…I (or me)! I want…I need…I deserve…I long…I dream…I wish…I crave…

Also, think about the social media…it is about making a statement regarding what you are doing or thinking at the moment. The focus is normally all about yourself. I use facebook and twitter so this post is not about bashing either one or of bashing today’s technology.

As I think about prayers, I know that most of them are consumed with “I” statements/wants/desires/needs. I, too, am guilty of consuming my prayer times with who I am and what I want.

I ran across a passage of Scripture yesterday. It is in Luke 1:46-55. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had just been told by the angel Gabriel that she had been found to have favor with God, that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon her, she would be with child, and give birth to a Son she was to name Jesus. The angel also informed her that a relative, Elizabeth, would also bear a son in her old age. Mary then hurries to the home of Elizabeth where Elizabeth blesses Mary and the baby in her womb.

I can’t help but think of what an incredible moment this was for Mary. How she could have declared to Elizabeth and anyone else she visited how amazing she,herself, was. That the God of the universe chose her! If there was a “look at me!” moment in all of history, I think this one could win hands down. She could have put as her status all the many reasons why she was the one chosen to be favored of the Lord. But do you know what she has a list of? Instead of an “I” list, she has a “He” list. Check it out:

“And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers.”

Then I found this next Scripture…which sums it all up in such a cool way…John 3:30. It says, “He must become greater; I must become less.”

Let’s consume our prayers with more “He” and less with “I“!

Ok.  I get it.  This is how you all communicate.  I just joined the Facebook family today.  I realize I am a little behind the times…but if you knew how old I was turning on Sunday…you would understand.  To tell you the truth, my husband (Student Pastor @ Arrow Heights Baptist Church) made me do it.  I am glad.  I think it will be fun.  So…here’s to more communicating!  See ya on Facebook.

Jennifer Johnson

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"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." -Revelations 1:5b-6

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