I had a one-hour phone appointment with my support coach today, during which i sat in my car and watched people come in and out of Tattered Cover. So many different kinds of people, it made focusing on my call difficult.
It was also very windy today, very. A grocery cart was laying on it's side near the entrance to the bookstore. In the hour I sat there, several people would right the cart, only to have it begin to roll around out of control as they, happy and unknowing, continue on their day. Each of them tried a different strategy to get the cart to stay upright, but few realized that standing it up meant it was going to roll around wildly, hitting cars and people. And those that did realize made only futile attempts to still it, never being successful.
One man, the first, picked it up and pushed it behind a bench in the middle of the walkway. Within seconds it started rolling, but he was already inside Tattered Cover and missed it. The next guy grabbed it as it rolled around and put one of the tires on the welcome mat. That worked until the next major gust of wind dislodged it, causing it to roll on towards it's next car-victim.
Over and over again people would try to fix the stray cart. Everyone thought they knew what was right, how to make it stop causing damage to itself and others. Yet no one took the time to read the store it was from (Bed, Bath and Beyond, right next door) and think to take it inside that building. Or, even less thought-intensive, it could have been laid back down, wheels up, so that it couldn't roll around.
I think in ministry I try to fix everyone's felt-problems. I tried to get their wheel's caught just enough on the mat to make them stop hurting themselves and others, but it's really just a band aide that makes me feel better and them left alone, again. If I only took the time to find out where they are from, where they belong, and what the real problem is, they could be restored.
If I only took the time to bring them to Jesus, instead of bringing them to myself or my books or my theology or my church or my psychology. Then they could be restored.