Last Saturday, Darren and Crystal were with us. They are doing something extraordinary that is pointing to Jesus. And it’s kind of like fine wine. I’ll explain.
You may already know the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Very briefly, Jesus went to a wedding and (as his mom pointed out), they ran out of wine. That would have created a very embarrassing situation in 1st Century Galilean Jewish village life. The host and the groom would not live it down. Lawsuits against the caterer may have ensued.
But Jesus was there and that changes everything. He, a little reluctantly, saved the day by turning water into wine. But the details make all the difference. The scripture tells us he turned ceremonial washing water into very fine wine. And John’s gospel tells us this miracle was the first sign that Jesus performed and his disciples noticed and put their faith in him.
Jesus’ sign was really fine wine.
And that’s what I see Darren and Crystal doing. They are intentionally growing their family through adoption – adopting a two little girls from Somoa. At least one of these girls has special needs. The lives these girls are going to experience will be very different because Darren and Crystal have chosen, in love, to make significant personal sacrifice to bring kids into their family out of a desperate situation. Instead of an orphanage with care-givers, they will have a family with a mom and dad!
In terms of beings a sign that points to Jesus, I would say what they were doing was like really fine wine.
What they are doing also resonates with the early church. In the Greco-Roman world, children were considered a burden. Many times, babies who were unwanted, blemished somehow, female, or who had special needs, would be “exposed”. They would be set out beside the road. Christians rescued them because Jesus, contrary to the values of his day, taught that children had value. He even said, “Let the children come to me -and do not hinder them.”
When the early Christians did that, it was noticed. It impacted the culture. It was sign that pointed to Jesus. You know, the cool thing about pointing to Jesus in such a way is that the whole course of history can change for the better. Wherever the Christian faith took root, the culture began to treat children better.
It was like really fine wine.
Last Saturday at our worship celebration, Darren and Crystal shared their story. Darren did a beautiful job drawing the connection between adoption and the gospel (Christians affirm that we are adopted into God’s family) and then Crystal sang an oh-my-that-was-amazing song she’d written for their daughter whom they have not yet met. Well, a guy walked into our worship gathering just as Darren was beginning to speak. I do not know who he was, and it turned out that ours was not the meeting he was looking for. But he sat politely through Darren’s talk and then excused himself. Later it occurred to me that our accidental visitor heard a very clear presentation of the gospel. And the illustration was standing in front of him. What Darren and Crystal are doing provided the best proof I could imagine to point to the power of the gospel to change everything.
So, the question this raises in my own mind is pretty significant. What is the quality of “my sign”? How well am I pointing to Jesus? Is it “fine wine”. How’s yours? These questions may be helpful in evaluation.
- Does what you are doing point to Jesus?
- Is it missional? In other words, does it line up with God’s will and activity in the world? (In case you are wondering, God has ALWAYS had an interest in rescuing orphans.)
- Does it bless the world?
- Does it demonstrate love?
- Do you need God’s help for it to go well?
If we can answer “yes” to each of the above questions, then we are probably on the right track.