Time….holds the key for two doors in each person’s life; to open the door of opportunity, or to open the door to resentment. In the same way, our mallets of judgement can either slam down on the desk of conviction; or it can slam down on the chains of hopelessness breaking into pieces of grace.
Yesterday was a perfect day of what I have ended my sermons with a dozen times. “May this week when you leave this place, bring unto you an opportunity to serve another for Christ and don’t let them pass by!” Don’t let them pass by….man, that’s harder than we think when TIME imprisons us.
“Lord, let my mind and my eyes and my heart stay focused on you today in all I say and do.”. An easy prayer with a world that is His to bring in your path for His sake. I was able to pray for a man on crutches I met; who was going to be laid up awhile and was down on how the injury would affect his pay. Simple encouragement I believe, helped him just in passing.
A few stops later, through a depressing Bed Bug find, was able to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in awhile and found out she had went through a divorce due to her husband cheating. It was surreal moment for me due to my past struggles getting the opportunity to encourage her and show a love that can help her heal the pain caused by an imperfect human love. Praying for her and showing even as a pastor that grace abounds through failures and mistakes with Christ on the thrown!
Then after that I finished up my main stops and had 2 hours to wait until my last stop at 9:45pm. Went to Speedway gas station to get a drink and ironically of WATER. Why do I say this? Remember Jesus when he spoke to the woman at the well and He was thirsty? ““Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again (regular water), 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14
Meet Rick, a man I met while at Speedway and a man that have me a whole new prospective in “practice what you preach.” He approached me asking about the weather and if we’d get the storms they were predicting. My first initial thought, I admit, was “Oh boy….where’s this going?” But as I was saying that, he then told me of his story.
“I’m stuck here in town trying to get to Madison to a friends and then back home to Hazard, KY.” Again, trying not to over-assume I thought, “Oh, so he’s looking for a ride or money….something I don’t have and can’t do in my work truck.” Then came the heart tugger…”I just lost my grand-daughter about 2 months ago and now my stupid son shot himself today and I’m not sure why or how he is. That’s why I’m trying to get back to Kentucky to find out.”
Touching story…but then he followed it up with saying how he went to two different churches in the area and was turned down for help of any kind. He began speaking various scriptures of how Christians are suppose to love and give to those in need. Then he stated due to this rejection, he threw the copy he had of the Bible away saying the words inside must not be true. 😦
It was at this moment the still small voice of God spoke louder to me than my arguments to leave. Sitting there listening to him I wrestled with what I could possibly do to help him. But each passing moment I grew more bothered listening I him slur his words and spitting out his chew. However, there was a greater part of me that wanted to let him know that God’s people may have let him down; but God has not and he must show a desire to change! So…I did and his face said a thousand words.
Tears flowed and a small sense of sincerity came from his lips. He apologized for his comments about God and Christians and I helped him call his friend in Kentucky and gave him a phone card I had in my wallet. After talking more to him about his lack of faith and his presentation he was giving off; I encouraged him to see what he was experiencing was God trying to wake his dead spirit up!
Here’s where my heart became troubled and my soul convicted. I was going to get him a $50 cash card from Speedway when the cashier told me not to waste my money. He stated that he had been in the station multiple times before, lived beside the station once before, etc. It was at that moment that my drive died. Was I wrong to let someone else convince me? Was this God trying to save me from being blindsided? Was just my time being with him all that God wanted….to see if I would respond?
What do I feel after all this time to reflect now that its been 24 hours? I sit and wonder how we as Christians can truly differentiate sincerity versus conniving. We all have a soft side and God has made most of all of us to thrive to give. Yet that also makes us vulnerable to being taken advantage of. How can we do His will and have healthy boundaries? No matter how we individually do it; Christ made His statement very clear:
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)
No matter how you feel in the moment, remember His final words…”TEACH these new disciples to obey ALL the commands….I am with you ALWAYS…” He is with you ALWAYS, the be His vessel and to LOVE ALL His people! So when God is knocking on your heart’s door….ANSWER IT!! 🙂