Confessing to Failure


I failed a few weeks ago.

I failed to the point that I keep thinking of this incident and I’m ashamed about my response.

A few weeks ago after church, I was rushing around getting things cleaned up (we rent space, so we set up and tear down on a weekly basis) when I needed to take some things out to my car. That’s when I saw her. She was an African-American woman, who was well dressed and appeared to be coming from church. She walked with a cane. When I came near to hear on my descent down the outside stairs, she asked me if I had any money for the bus. I rarely carry actual, physical money with me anymore- and in general, I don’t hand money out to those who ask, preferring to help them with what they need (this is important as a downtown church). So I told the woman that I did not have the ability to help with bus money (which was true).

Here is my failure: I cared more about getting cleaned up that day than listening to the woman. I cared more about getting to my next “thing” than finding out what this woman really needed. It’s possible someone could have given her a ride- or helped with bus fare. I cared more about me than I cared about another.

There are two scriptures that come to mind:

Matthew 25:21-44: The parable of the Sheep and Goats. It’s a story of judgment on those who failed to care for the poor, the hungry, the naked, and the thirsty. This is certainly a goat moment for me.

Hebrews 13:2- “Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guest, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.” While I wasn’t asked to open up my home- I think basic hospitality is caring for those around us. What kind of blessings do we miss for rushing out of situations like this?

I’m praying for the ability to live in the moment; to live out my faith where I’m at rather than looking past to where I’m going.

Is there a time where you feel you missed on an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus? What happened? Have you ever lived in the moment and “entertained angels” and been blessed?

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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3 Responses to Confessing to Failure

  1. Rebekah says:

    When going to college, we had a homeless ministry in Philly and it was absolutely amazing – the people we met and the stories they told. I still think of them often, many years later.

    It’s funny you write this today, though. I was on my way running some errands and, right around the area of the church, I saw a man digging in recycle bins to find cans to turn in for change I’m sure. I was at a stop light and thought about how I could help this man – even if just by listening. Instead, I went along my way…and that image has popped up in my head many times over the past few hours since seeing him. Sure I had appointments, but some of the non-scheduled tasks could have been pushed aside until later to make this man feel some dignity and love! Just think of all the people who pass by in their car and toss out their judgments upon him…

  2. Thanks for commenting Rebekah! I think we could make a difference in people’s lives by slowing down and listening!

  3. paulbowman says:

    Thanks for being open and sharing this story. It’s an easy trap to fall into. I pray too to become increasingly aware of the opportunities of each present moment and God’s voice within those moments.

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