Last night I watched a long distance mentor of mine, Israel Houghton, singing and sharing his testimony on TBN from Dallas. Full disclosure, whenever I am asked what my dream is or “What do you want to do with your life?” my response is: “I want to do what Israel is doing.” Needless to say, this was not the first time I stopped channel surfing when I saw Israel on the television screen, so when he began to say: “You don’t always have to cross the planet to change the world. Sometimes you just have to cross the street.”, I started to roll my eyes. I can be critical of pre-packaged comments or sermons. My fault not Israel’s, God is not finished with me yet. However, I perceived sincerity in Israel’s comments even though I had heard them before. I was convicted as I thought about the moments in my life when I didn’t cross the street to help someone in need.
One day I was going to lunch with my wife, mom, and baby Gene (Gabrielle Ryan Leak) my youngest daughter at Mary Macs in Atlanta. As I was coming up the sidewalk from the parking lot, a man shouted from across the street. “Do you have any change?” the man shouted. I went through my normal internal struggle, going back and forth in my mind about whether or not he was legitimately in need of food or just another hit. I sided with the “he’s just a drug addict or a drunk” logic, said no, and went in to lunch with my people. I came back outside with left overs and the thought occurred to me that I should give the food to the gentlemen that asked me for money before entering, but by then it was too late. The man was gone.
The Bible talks about moments when we helping the needy could be “entertaining angels”. I wondered if I missed my moment. I’ve since asked myself two questions about that moment. If I saw Israel Houghton, Andy Stanley, Creflo Dollar, Justin Beiber, or Kobe Bryant across the street in legitimate need or otherwise, would I help? Is the Christ in me only limited to helping the hungry, but not the drug or substance abused? I’m sure I will have another chance to help someone in need. We all are given impromptu opportunities more than we care to admit to help people in need. Whether it’s the “will work for food” guy or the man that offers to clean off your car windshield, there are always moments that we can, if willing change the world for someone else.
As a worship leader, I’ve often dream of leading people in songs on big stages, in big moments, next to big names, but the moments I “lead worship” most significantly are when I follow the small voice inside of me that encourages me to cross the street to feed, pray with, give to, or encourage someone in need. Last night Israel said the life of worship is a life of obedience. I agree. Worship is not about music. It never has been. It is now and always has been about being willing to do something uncomfortable for the sake of some else. Cross the street!