This past week, I was on vacation. Outside of a water line bursting in the pasture, it was a wonderful experience.
Typically, when I am off on a Sunday, I worship at one of my pastor/friend’s churches to be recharged, refreshed, and renewed. The danger in visiting a friend’s church is sometimes you are unexpectedly used as a sermon illustration. Like the time Steve used me as example of sin – twice. But, being a good Christian, I fully intend to get even.
Instead, after three days of going without water, yesterday morning, I was bonding with a plumber as we hunted down a busted pipe and used my skid steer to dig it up. It was one of those wonderful experiences I hope to never have again.
The point is, I was not at our church this past Sunday but after what Shannon told me, I wish I had been.
Early yesterday morning, some of our greeters were standing in the church courtyard and a man on a bicycle rode up and was welcomed by Larry. As Shannon watched, Larry and the man began to talk. It was clear the man was struggling. Larry told him about Jesus’ love and invited him to church. Then, Larry stood beside the man, held one of the man’s hands and put his other hand on the man’s back while praying a beautiful prayer.
After Larry’s heartfelt prayer, the man did not walk through the doors of our church. Instead, he handed Larry a dollar and asked if he would put it in our offering plate and began to ride away but, as the man reached the parking lot, he stopped, picked something up, and began to yell and point to Shannon. Then he came back to the courtyard and gave Shannon what he had picked up. It was the wallet and cellphone of one of our greeters.
With a beaming smile on his face, he handed Shannon the items and rode way.
As Shannon teared up, she told me watching Larry minister to this man’s hurting soul was one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen.
This got me thinking.
A fascinating book of the Bible is the book of Esther because it never mentions God. The closest it ever gets to talking about God is when, Esther, who is the wife of the Persian King Xerxes, must choose to risk her life to plead with the king to spare the Jewish people, who he has decreed must die or to take the much safer option and not get involved, save her life, and let genocide happen. This is when Mordecai asks her to risk her life for the good of others by saying, “But who knows? Maybe it was for a moment like this that you came to be part of the royal family.” (Esther 4:14b)
I believe with all my heart God put Larry in our church courtyard “for a moment like this,” in order to meet a suffering man on the bicycle. In other words, God gave Larry the opportunity to minister and witness but it was up to Larry to follow through. He did it in a magnificent way.
How often does God provide the opportunity for us to witness to his wonderful, saving love, but we don’t because it may be awkward, uncomfortable, or inconvenient? God expects more.
While you may not encounter a hurting man on a bicycle, you will cross paths with someone who is suffering and needs to know in this angry, unforgiving world, there is someone who offers grace, healing, and peace. They need to hear about Jesus. Don’t let the opportunity pass by.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, open my eyes so I may see those opportunities to tell others about your wonderful Son. Give me the courage to tell, the wisdom to use the right words, and the opportunity to follow my call as a Christian. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
God will put someone in your path. Tell that person about Jesus because he’s the only answer for the pain, suffering, and heartache of this broken world.
Also, just for the record, Larry is a man of grace, service, and humility. He will not like that I used his name in this devotional. The good news is Larry has to forgive me. He doesn’t have a choice. It’s in the Bible.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.