There were twenty strangers standing around, coffee in hand, scanning the crowd for familiar faces. We were all waiting for the training program to begin.
"They call me 'Buzzard,'" the guy next to me blurted out, "not sure how it all got started but over the years I've grown used to it. My mother even calls me Buzzard now." He looked like a normal guy, but I wasn't sure I wanted to continue a conversation.
As soon as I shared my name he hit me with the strangest "conversation starter."
"So, what do you collect?"
"Wall clocks," I responded.
Then he proceeded to regale me with the glories of his spider collection.
Lyn and I have dedicated one wall in our family room to a rather pitiful collection of 25 wall clocks, but neither of us would be called collectors.
My dad was a collector; when he died his garage was a depository of broken tools, burned-out motors, and assorted personal treasures. He collected mechanical and electrical misfits, promising someday to give them new purpose, a reason to stay around. Somehow that new purpose never saw the light of day. In short, from my perspective, he died with a garage and work shed filled with junk.
Through the years I have gotten to know people with various kinds of collections: Ken collects native American art, Bud — pocketknives, Joyce — antique glass, Blake — writing instruments, Teresa — shoes, Gene — police badges, and Robert built on a 20x20 room over his garage to display his Bobbie hats.
Ask a person about what he collects and you are asking him to share something revealing and personal. You are stepping into his private world. Not such a strange crowd breaker question after all.
"So, what do you collect?"
Try this answer: "I collect the fingerprints of God. I look for his touches in my life and the lives of others, and when I find them I write about them, and I report them. Not long back ___" (Tell about a time when you saw or felt God in action in your world.)
The Faith Community is the place to tell these "fingerprint" stories. In doing so, you are stepping into God's private world. It's the only requirement for membership on the Faith Team.
So, my collection goal has grown. I still collect the stories, but now I collect storytellers. When God writes you into HIS story, tell me about it. Nothing gives me more joy than hearing what God is doing in this generation.
In April of 2007, USA Today published a short story on Kevin Inciyaki, of Sierra Madre, California. The story focused on Kevin's love for trash. Kevin at the time was 9 years old and fixated on garbage. He not only likes garbage, but he also likes garbage containers and garbage trucks, garbage books, and garbage videos. His room is filled with everything garbage.
Early photos of him in the family scrapbook show an eager youngster inspecting trashcans at Sea World. He even has a photo collection called "Garbage Trucks of the World" taken for him by family friends on trips abroad.
Kevin's mother, Marsha, said, "It's been garbage since he was 2 years old. You have no idea what it is like having a child who has a passion for trash."
Kevin collects what everyone else throws away, the broken, worn-out, used-up, and discarded junk. So does God. And, with every believer added to HIS Kingdom collection, HE transforms us and leaves behind Holy fingerprints that remind us of his touch, HIS power, HIS grace.
- The man with leprosy (Mark 1:35-42).
- The woman with a bleeding problem (Mark 5:25-34).
- The crazy and uncontrollable man at the cemetery (Mark 5:1-20).
- The despised sinful woman of the city (Luke 7:36-48).
- The blind beggar who was a theological question (John 9:1-38).
- The hated, short, publican (Luke 19:1-10).
HIS fingerprints linger as stories longing to be told ... not just in those lives Jesus touched so long ago, but lives today!
Imagine God standing next to you, waiting for the training session to start and he blurts out, "So, what do you collect?" What comes to your mind?
Some collections are reflections of our passions, some take us down a dangerous path, some are nothing more than a diversion, or innocent dabbling, and others become obsessions. What are you collecting?
Keep your eyes and ears open. As you travel, work, walk your neighborhood, share meals together, and attend social gatherings, listen for the fingerprints of God. He's working everywhere, sometimes in ways that may appear to be strange and bizarre, but he is still touching lives and healing hearts. When you hear an account of the Father's touch, write it down, save it, share it, and celebrate it.
Share your stories about God's fingerprints with The Faith Community.