“Sir, can you please help me out, I have to provide for my family, and we have no food. Please, is there anything you can do?” The young man was desperate, his eyes searched mine for hope, and his body language showed stress and strain that didn’t belong to such a young man.
This young man is one of the millions in South Africa, begging for money, food and/or work. He certainly wasn’t the first one to have asked for my help that day. As he searched my face for hope, he only found a tired scowl from a dad shopping with two young kids. Not now, I’m tired and I have my kids with me, please leave me alone. I thought to myself.
I was going to
The young man left, and true to his word, was waiting at the exit of the grocery store. He thanked me about four or five times. Still, I was not enjoying my “ministry.” I just wanted to get home, make my family dinner and crash after a long day. Little did I know, that it wasn’t I who helped that young man, but the Holy Spirit who really made it happen.
You see, over the next two weeks, my family and I “bumped” into this young man three more times. His father recently passed away, his mom is chronically ill and his 13-year-old sister relies on him for food and school fees.
Today, I was blessed to sit and mentor him for the second time. He is eager and excited for guidance, the type of man I was sent here to love and walk alongside. Yet, if my own logical convenience had ruled the day, I would have missed the opportunity to teach someone how to walk with Jesus.
Inconvenience is an opportunity for faith.
My close spiritual brother and I were chatting the other day, remarking on the number of times God has shown up to heal someone, provide or make something impossible happen when the timing was almost at its worst. In church life, we’ve begun to rely on plans. Retirements, insurance, the attitude of “the government will fix it” or, “church is for Sunday fellowship/service,” has put many of us into a reliance on planning. If we are going to serve the poor, then we plan a soup kitchen. If we are going to share the gospel, then we plan an evangelism outing.
The idea that we might be called to minister, love and pray for someone at a time that would interfere with our work schedule, school schedule or church schedule sounds crazy!
The fact is…that’s usually when Jesus likes to show up.
Jesus went into the desert and spoke to over 5000 folks without food, but still provided plenty. Jesus stopped to heal others when on his way to help sick people who consequently died, then he raised them from the dead after offending their family’s sensibilities and stretching their faith even further.
George Muller’s great story of feeding his orphanage without food or money, happened because he had his kids sit at their empty tables to eat breakfast and thank God for the food He provided. A few moments later a baker showed up with a ton of extra bread God told him to make that morning, and then a milk truck broke down right outside, so the milkman donated all the milk to the orphans so it wouldn’t go to waste.
ALL OF THOSE MIRACLES WERE INCONVENIENT AND ILLOGICAL.
Our churches today keep searching for “success” in programs. A system of disseminating the gospel in a way that is uniform and protected against heresy and chaos. Have we read the gospels lately? Jesus and the apostles after him were accused of two things over and over again. Heresy and creating chaos. Of course, I’m not pro heresy or creating any chaos, but I am pro Jesus and dedicated to walking in His footsteps laid out for me.
Often times, those footsteps take me off the beaten path and into a “proverbial jungle” with a lot of scary snakes and deadly pitfall. Yet, when led into the most dangerous places I have found the most incredible hidden treasures. According to human logic stopping to love someone on the street, and being late for work is not smart. Caring for a homeless family at 10 pm on a school night is “not wise.” And adopting a homeless child when your retirement is already thin is “irresponsible.” But Jesus told the rich man “sell all you have, give to the poor, and follow me.” Um, you think that would have created some chaos? Jesus also said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one goes to the Father, but by me!” If you hadn’t known Jesus would be raised from the dead, how would you fit that statement into a program?
“Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil.”
The evil we constantly “look out for” is smoking, drinking, extramarital sex, lying and stealing…all of which we shouldn’t do, of course…but what if the evil we most readily partner with is apathy and settling for only fulfilling our church duties? I.e. Money, attendance and occasional volunteering.
James said, “true religion is what? Listening to the latest awesome worship song on Sunday that pumps us up and makes us feel good? Being “fed” by our leaders and feeling like we can make it through another week? Of course not. We all know what James said. It’s taking care of the orphan and widow and not be polluted by the world. I no longer think that has to do with listening to the right or wrong music or even the right or wrong TV show, rather, putting God’s priorities first (seek first His kingdom, His Righteousness – THEN all these things will be added).
I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE RIGHTEOUS FORSAKEN OR HIS CHILDREN BEGGING BREAD.
Righteousness obtained through grace, because of the cross…what is it worth to you? Is it worth a fancy car? A bigger house? The “right” university?
Or is it worth your lunch hour at work? Embarrassing yourself at school or carving out extra time to pray for someone whose life is falling apart?
As you have already been made righteous through Jesus’ suffering and resurrection, what now? How big is the Savior within your heart?
Will you allow a little inconvenience to keep you from saving lives?