The man on the right is our friend Sam.
He was one of the translators on our recent trip to Guatemala.
Originally from Bolivia, he is 6’2”, a natural athlete and very strong.
He towers over most Guatemalans.
And especially Pablo.
Pablo, on the left, is small for his 17-years.
He is completely non-verbal and has many special needs.
He is defenseless in a harsh, cruel world.
But for the grace of God and the love of his Mama, he would now be dead.
As you can see, Pablo had a need.
His shoe was untied.
He didn’t recognize the need – that kind of thing is beyond him.
But Sam saw the need.
He coaxed Pablo toward him.
And then knelt to do what needed to be done.
This picture brings tears to my eyes.
Sam has the physical strength to be a brute.
But he is gentle with the hurting, those in need, the most vulnerable.
He has the height to be intimidating, especially to the children.
But they cling to him like a tree-trunk they are desperate to climb because they intuitively know that he won’t hurt them.
He has all the abilities he needs to walk through this life without seeing those in need.
But he notices.
In this case, he noticed the untied shoe.
The danger it could be.
And the fact that Pablo could not solve the problem on his own.
Do you see the parallels?
You and I, we are just like Pablo.
And mostly clueless of our own need.
We are in danger most of the time and don’t even know it.
Sam is like Jesus.
Full of strength.
Full of ability.
Full of power.
And yet he stoops.
Just as Jesus stooped down from heaven’s throne to become a baby in the manger.
To meet the woman at the well where she was.
Just as He stooped down in the dirt to make mud to heal the blind man’s eyes.
And to touch the leper.
To lift the hand of the once-dead girl.
And welcome the children to His open arms.
He has all the power of the universe at His disposal and deserves every bit of praise.
He is the Creator of all things and the glue that holds all of them together. (Colossians 1)
But He laid all of that aside, stooping low, for much more than an un-tied shoe.
Paul spoke about Jesus this way in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 2:
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Jesus stooped low in order to be lifted high on a cross.
And because He did, Sam has been given the same heart.
A heart that is fully capable of being a warrior, strong and fierce, in the face of evil.
But a heart that is humble enough to stoop in the dirt to tie a young man’s shoe.
Not because he is so wonderful.
But because His Savior is.
He has many wonderful qualities.
But it is the Lord in him that you see in this picture.
And the question is this:
If you are a Christ-follower, are you willing to stoop?
Are you willing to lay down your pride, bending low for the sake of another?
Are you willing to open your heart to love the unlovely?
What about those who are in sin?
Those who defy God?
Those who are rebels at heart?
Will you stoop to love them, too?
Because that is what Jesus did.
“While we were yet sinners, Christ died.” (Romans 5:6)
While I was still in rebellion, He held out His arms for me to come into them.
While I was still far off, He ran to meet me.
Long before I was born, He stooped down low to make a way for me to be lifted into His arms.
There is no such thing as too-broken before the Lord.
No sin too great to be forgiven.
No hurt too big to be healed.
No rebel so far gone that they cannot be redeemed.
Christ stooped for you.
Will you kneel in the dirt for Him?
Imagine what a world it would be if everyone who claimed His name knelt in humility to serve another.
Regardless of who they are.
Or how they are broken.
What if the world truly saw us loving others – outsiders – as Jesus did?
And what if they saw us doing the even harder job – loving each other as Jesus did?
What a world that would be!
Will you stoop?