Within minutes of learning about the school closure I picked up the phone and called an old friend. This friend was the director of Tuesday nights at the local "Warming Center" in Westland, Michigan. This center allows men and women from the area to come and eat, shower, and sleep during the freezing cold winter months. On a slow night the shelter can attract between 20 and 30 people. I asked my friend if they needed help and he replied with a resounding "Most definitely!"
Once we were able to stretch the tacos a little further than intended (add potatoes to the hamburger meat) I was packed up and ready to go. As I went outside to finish loading up, my neighbor from across the street (14) inquired into what I was about to do. Quickly I encouraged him to ask permission to come with me and he made haste to his house and returned with eagerness and excitement. Not to mention he came equipped with many questions about ministry. He truly has a servants heart!
The mission was busy when we arrived and there were some familiar faces I have made acquaintances with before already there. The television was blaring, the food was circling, and the homemade tacos went quickly. Everyone got at least one, and a few, who were able to raise their hands quick enough, got a second taco. They thoroughly enjoyed the hot food and hospitality by all who were helping with the shelter that night.
While my intention to go to the shelter this night was to help feed those who are the "least of these," there is also the intention to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With no idea that this event was going to arise I had little time to prepare a message and had to think quickly on my feet. So little can be said to those in these kinds of situations that can encourage these men and women, and few understand the difference between the true message, and the apostate message that so many of our "local church's" proclaim.
I sat down with what time I had (1 hour) to meditate on the word and the passage of Matthew 19:16-30 to assure that I did not mishandle the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). That said, I made some brief notes and asked for guidance and wisdom and prayed for the softening of these men's hearts. At once the overwhelming task of preaching the Word to the souls of men intimidated me. I became uneasy, nervous, and began to tremble at the thought of what a great fear it would be to answer for falsely proclaiming the Word of God. My eyes began to well up with tears when I reflected on the privilege that the Lord was allowing of me to preach His Gospel.
After preaching on the passage for about 20 minutes, I began to notice the fidgeting and impatience stirring in the crowd of men. This was a sign that I was ruffling some feathers, and the comments began to flow. While some may not have heard much, others were paying very close attention, even to the point of fixed wonder as the follow-up conversations would soon indicate.
Many of these men had no riches or power of which to forfeit. Nor did they possess anything of any value (in their minds) to surrender and follow after the Lord. What I tried to make clear to them was what was required of those who follow Jesus Christ. The sins they embrace and cater to on a regular basis, the sins that keep them stagnate, and the addictions that bind them to their own self-will are what they possess and need to surrender. Jesus then clarifies the wonder and incredible power of God to do these things for those who are walking in humility and surrender before the Lord.
Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.
(Mat 19:27-30 NASB)
The reward of forsaking this world, this flesh, and these desires with the power of the Spirit we possess is innumerable. You cannot even for one second begin to believe that the Lord of Glory would not return good on His word!
There are quite a few who received Bibles, tracts, and conversation following the preaching of the Word. Here are some of the names of which you could pray for today, tomorrow, or all week! Please keep them in prayer as the Lord appeared to move in their hearts as they sought answers to many of the questions that arose that night, some stating that they've always thought they were saved, and are learning that they may not be...
- Ben Brown
- Mike Carter