Outside the Walls: All Smiles

My phone rang twice, and it was my wife both times, which is her signal for me to answer even if I’m talking to Billy Graham. “Connor just knocked out his front two teeth and I’m about to pass out. Can you come home?” I said, “Let me check my calendar.”

I pulled into the driveway and was met by my 8-year-old son, who showed me his teeth. Leisa exaggerated slightly. Only half of each of his front two permanent teeth were knocked out. I’ve always found it fascinating that God designed us to lose all of our original teeth. I wonder if He recreated the world if he would wait to let the permanent ones come in after we turn 18 and are more responsible.

There are a few things my wife tells my rambunctious boys all the time: “Pick your clothes up off the floor and take care of your teeth. You don’t get any new ones.” So there Connor stood, helpless, broken and in need of hope.

Your community is filled with individuals who are helpless, broken and in need of hope. It’s easy to pretend like they aren’t there or their needs are too great to even get started. Let 2014 be a year that you open your eyes and see them. Their lives are a mess, and it doesn’t seem like there is a way out. Some of them are the product of generations of brokenness and are in need of someone intervening and pulling them out of a vicious cycle. Others have made bad choices and are reaping the consequences of their actions. They need help from a good neighbor.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ ” (Matthew 25:4O).

Open your heart to them and take a leap into their lives. Let me warn you: As you build a relationship, your heart will begin to break. As your heart breaks, a desire to see them restored sets in. You’ll be energized, and you will never be the same again. You may uncover a spiritual need while meeting the physical need. Remember that a temporary solution to a physical need will not fix an eternal problem. Point them to Jesus, who has the power to restore them and make them brand new. Walk with them as they follow Jesus. Love them along the journey, and watch a smile spread across their face.

Connor found hope that day from our neighbor, Frankie. He just happens to be a dentist! We were in his office in less than 30 minutes, and out walked a brand new Connor. His two front teeth look better than before their collision with a baseball bat. Now Connor is all smiles.