For the past two Sundays, our church has had 2 people who were “down on their luck” come and visit. They asked for assistance with food, which we gladly provided to each of them.
The first visitor is a military veteran suffering from PTSD from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was kind, gentle, polite, clean, articulate. He showed me his veteran’s I.D. card to validate his background. He came looking for prayer and if we could afford it, he’d gladly welcome any assistance.
The second visitor came this past Sunday.
Another man, but this one had a bleached blonde wig and a “leave nothing to the imagination” black crocheted, mini skirt. I’m thinking he was identifying himself as a woman. (Sorry about the descriptive imagery, but I shouldn’t be the only one to suffer!) He knew the scriptures very well and even spoke elements of truth, yet there was something strangely odd about him (apart from the obvious, of course!)
Now, so you are aware, whenever someone comes asking for benevolent assistance, I make it a priority to ask several questions:
“If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?” and “If you were to die today and God were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?”
I ask these questions because it benefits no one to receive temporary benevolent assistance if they are eternally helpless. In helping with the needs of basic necessities, a door is opened for the gospel to be presented…and hopefully received.
Our first visitor was gracious and thankful that I cared about his eternal destiny. He was excited to share about his faith in Christ and expressed a genuine, humble, heartfelt testimony of his love for our Savior. In serving his country, he had some very disturbing experiences and was in a difficult transitional time.
Our second visitor was arrogant as he sought to “enlighten” me about the unsearchable truths of scripture telling me that “the way to heaven was by living a holy life, doing good things, and speaking in tongues.” And I would always come back with “What about Jesus? What did Jesus do?” And he would deflect and change the topic by lecturing me about movies, social ills, and judgmental people who gawked at him because of his “gorgeousness”. He told me of pastors who wouldn’t give him the time of day because they were on their way to a luncheon or some other meeting.
I get it. It’s easy to love someone who has honored his country, but the thought of an alternate lifestyle – well, it thoroughly disgusts me. Honestly, I do not have the natural ability to love someone like that.
And, frankly, neither do you. In fact, we (I) don’t even have the ability to love nice people.
But God does. And He enables us to love supernaturally – to love all people with His love.
God has never called us to be a factory that manufactures love for people – He’s called us to be a shipping/receiving warehouse that distributes His love. People do not need the love of Chris Greaves – they need the love of the Father.
So on both occasions, I asked (begged, pleaded) God for His love to flow through me and into these individuals who were being harassed by the enemy.
Our first visitor left our campus stating that God’s love and presence was very evident throughout our church. He was very appreciative and grateful for the help and ministry that we offered to him. He repeatedly thanked me – not for the gift card, but for praying with him. His visit was the absolute highlight of my day!
Who knows? We might find out one day in Heaven that He was an angel in disguise!But until that day, would you join me in prayer for my friend? Please pray that God would bring healing and wholeness into his damaged emotions and his life.
Our second visitor, on the other hand, had a different ending.
I prayed for him as I did with our first visitor. After I finished, he began praying for me and started to touch me and began to manifest demonic tongues. I stood and stopped him immediately. He took great offense and proclaimed (in a manly falsetto voice) that I was not a Christian and that I’m wrong with God (along with some other choice words). He wondered loudly as he left our campus, “Why did I even come here?”
He took the Publix gift card.
I would say that God’s love and presence was very evident on our campus that day as well – it’s just that God’s love and truthfulness weren’t received by this individual on this particular day. He’s not the enemy – he’s a victim who’s believed a lie from the enemy of our souls. Would you please pray for my friend? Please pray that he might respond to the Father’s love and truth – I would love to see him in Heaven.
I guess my lesson for today is that I am just one beggar trying to show other beggars where the bread is. Ultimately it’s not at Publix and it’s not because of me – it’s at the foot of the cross, where God demonstrated His overwhelming love for us.