"An Inside Perspective"

June 2012


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As I have mentioned in the past, the prison grounds here at Rahway are a bit of a zoo. Canadian geese are everywhere and they walk around with such a boldness and air of confidence that you would almost expect to see them wearing uniforms. They see this as “their” prison and we are simply in “their” way! Their arrogance is palatable as they honk their way all over the place. You have never heard a goose honk until he is outside your window at five AM calling his mate!

We also have cats, skunks, groundhogs, hawks and birds of every sort including New Jersey’s stalwart, the seagull. Occasionally, one of the gulls will get hurt and you’ll see him walking around with the geese looking totally “out of place.” The prison term “out of place” was coined for any prisoner who is not where they are supposed to be. It usually goes something along these lines, “Yo inmate, you are out of place!” To which you would guiltily reply, “Yes, sir,” while quickly high-tailing it to where you are supposed to be.

Anyway, in late spring we discovered a squatter on the Greenhouse grounds, yes, a wounded seagull who was totally “out of place.” Day after day, and then week after week, he stayed on the Greenhouse grounds. Honestly, we thought he was gonna die any moment; he looked ragged as if on death’s bed. He lived off foodstuffs that prisoners threw to him as they walked by. Quickly, people began to become attached to him and to look for him. Everybody and everything in prison goes by a nickname and before you knew it, he was dubbed Lefty because of his bad left leg and wing. People even started to ask us where he was when they didn’t see him. Truthfully, the rascals could have cared less because he was pulling out all their new flower starts in hopes of a snack! I suspect they had other plans for him - - - namely fertilizer!

One day one of the rascals and I were sitting out on the patio waiting for the call back and we were watching Lefty. I said to the rascal, “You see Lefty? That’s you. You exist but you are wounded; you are fallen short of your created purpose. You were created to soar in the heavenlies but sin has smitten you and left you groveling for some foodstuffs that the world might throw you.” He very sarcastically said, “Yea, right,” and walked away as they called us out at that very moment, and so, I left said rascal with those thoughts.

I love these guys (there are three of them) but they are harder than the rock of Gibraltar and feistier still. Let me just say, cantankerously combative falls descriptively short. Nonetheless, I commit them to Him who joyfully softens hearts.

The next day found the same rascal and me on the patio again observing Lefty. Someone had thrown him a piece of sausage, but all the other birds stormed him and took it before he could get to it. Said rascal scared off the other birds and gave the sausage to Lefty, but just as he tried to feed it to him, Lefty took off in fear! The rascal immediately said, “That seagull is an idiot, all I want to do is feed it and help it but it runs from me, the very source of its help!” To which I instantly replied “That’s the perfect picture of you. All the Lord wants to do is feed you and help you, and you just keep running from him in fear.” He again said, “Yea, right,” as the call out came and we departed, leaving him with those thoughts.

It is written, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die and then the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27)

Let’s just say Lefty didn’t make it. The next day we were on the patio again and the rascal said, “Where’s Lefty?” To which I answered, “I guess He wasn’t serving his created purpose; I suppose his number came up and now he’s fertilizer.” I went on to say, “That’s your future, too. You are broken from sin, running in fear from the very God who is trying to feed and help you. You’re living off scraps and soon your number will be up and the wrath of God will consume you. They’ll then say, ‘Where’s the rascal?’ To which I’ll sadly reply, ‘I guess he wasn’t serving his created purpose.’ ” He again said, “Yea, right.”

You know what? No one has ever asked about Lefty again; it was as if he never was. Beloved, ask yourself, “Am I really saved?” If so, what do you base that on? Precious one, are you walking in your created purpose? Do you know that you can’t be if you are not, first and foremost, born again? Only then can you seek your calling and your gifting and serve the Lord in your created purpose. As a Christian you must discover what member of the Body that you are. Then, and only then can you hone your gift and begin to function fruitfully in that arena.

God designed and gifted us all for a specific purpose in His Kingdom, but you must discover yours. Oh snap, I hear the call out. I gotta go; I’ll have to leave you with those thoughts. Beloved, beware unless like Lefty, you too be found to be “out of place,” ending up as...