What I am about to tell you occurred back in October of 2016. Outside of what God would reveal to me through my son and how He sees me. This was a moment that would shake me to the core. There are times in our walk with God where I really think that though we know many truths, we tend to forget others.
I had just got off work and I went to one of my favorite coffee shops in St Louis. I called it Sump (the name of the coffee shop) Fridays because I went there every Friday to kick of my weekend. So as I drive doing my normal routine, I take the 4500 Broadway exit and immediately notice an individual sitting there where the off-ramp meets the main street and he is asking for money.
For the first time in a long time my heart was pricked to the core. I was humiliated for the simple fact that I did not have cash and I was quite literally right next to him in my car. Once the light signaled green I anxiously went to the nearest fast food restaurant and grabbed him the biggest and most fattiest meal I could find and soon after I pulled into Walgreens and grabbed twenty bucks from the ATM. From there I drove back.
I pulled into the gas station on the other side of the off ramp and I began to run out to him. But what I didn’t notice before was that he was in a wheel chair. His hair (and body for that matter) probably hadn’t been washed in weeks and his clothes were covered in dirt and grease. Soon after I noticed that his right pant leg was tied into a knot about two feet up, part of his leg was gone. To say that my emotions were on edge was a complete and total understatement.
What do I say? What do I do? Is this even enough? These were but a few of the many things rushing through my head but I would take a deep breath and swallow my soon to be shattered pride. Kneeling down to him I placed my hand on his shoulder and just tried to encourage him the best I could. He instantly broke and started crying, as did I. From there we talked, I handed him his meal, and once we were finished he rushed off to eat his food and I went back to the car. I honestly began to sob uncontrollably as I sat in the car trying to grasp everything that happened.
“Why did you have me do that?” I asked God repeatedly
“John, when I first entered into your life didn’t I love you the same way?” Abbas response was soft and tender yet striking the inner depths of my heart.
Suddenly, it was like someone opened up the curtains in a closed off room extinguishing every measure of darkness. I realized that I had so much wrong. I had grown so self righteous that I would in time develop a sense of entitlement though it was on the other end of the spectrum. Because I read my word, prayed, and lived a “holy life” I felt entitled to the things of God; His love, His mercy, and His grace. I had fallen into the “work” trap. Thankfully through God’s goodness He would rescue me from myself. God would show me through this man that what I did for him He did for me. God does not barter His Love, He is a good Father for the simple fact that as Father, His children are the object of His affection. Thus, He entered right into the middle of my stuff, right in the middle of my crap and loved me despite it all. As He loved me through it all, I found myself becoming more and more like Him. His loved found me, but wouldn’t leave me there.
Only through the love and compassion that God manifests to us are we able to be loving and compassionate to those around us. We love because God first loved us. And regardless of color, or your place in society, whether rich or poor, God’s love knows this, no limit or barrier. And it is this very God-Love that has the potential of changing the most vilest of “sinners”.
What was it that Jesus said? People will know you are my disciple by how holy your are. No.
People will know you are my disciple by how many time you blast sinners for their lifestyles” Nope.
People will know you are my disciple by how many times you can preach hell and fear them to me. That’s so far from the truth.
He simply said they will know you are my disciple by your love. I pray this challenges, and this encourages.