Are you ready for it?
It’s not too hard to slap together a program, find a few volunteers and launch into doing a service project.
But what about actually sharing Jesus Christ?
What about being ready to make a disciple?
What about seeing people the way God sees them, then loving them the way God loves them?
Are you really ready for that?
Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, wasn’t. Is your story different than his? This is part of his story …
It was Easter Sunday and I was so tired at the end of the day
that I just went to the edge of the platform, pulled down my tie and sat
down and draped my feet over the edge. It was a wonderful service with
many people coming forward. The counselors were talking with these
As I was sitting there, I looked up the middle aisle and there,
in about the third row, was a man who looked about 50, disheveled,
filthy. He looked up at me rather sheepishly, as if saying, “Could I
talk to you?”
We have homeless people coming in all the
time, asking for money or whatever. So as I sat there, I said to
myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday. I’ve had
such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow
probably wanting some money for more wine.”
He walked up.
When he got within about five feet of me, I smelled a horrible smell
like I’d never smelled in my life. It was so awful that when he got
close, I would inhale by looking away, and then I’d talk to him, and
then look away to inhale, because I couldn’t inhale facing him.
him, “What’s your name?”
“How long have you been on the
“How old are you?”
He looked 50 — hair
matted, front teeth missing, wino, eyes slightly glazed.
“Where did you
sleep last night, David?”
I keep in my
back pocket a money clip that also holds some credit cards. I fumbled to
pick one out thinking I’d give him some money, I won’t even get a
volunteer, they are all busy talking with others.
Usually we don’t give
money to people. We take them to get something to eat. I took the money
out. David pushed his finger in front of me. He said, “I
don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking
about, because I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die on the
I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for
I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent
to me. See how easy it is? I could make the excuse I was
tired. There is no excuse. I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I
was not feeling what God feels. But oh, did that change!
stood there. He didn’t know what was happening. I pleaded with God,
“God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me. I am so sorry to
represent You this way. I’m so sorry. Here I am with my message and my
points, and You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!”
came over me. Suddenly I started to weep deeper, and David began to
weep. He fell against my chest as I was sitting there. He fell against
my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept
on each other.
The smell of his person became a beautiful aroma.
what I thought the Lord made real to me: “If you don’t love this smell, I
can’t use you, because this is why I called you where you are. This is
what you are about. You are about this smell.”
changed David’s life.
He started memorizing portions of Scripture that
were incredible. We got him a place to live. We hired him in the church
to do maintenance, and we got his teeth fixed. He was a handsome man
when he came out of the hospital. They detoxed him in six days. He spent
that Thanksgiving at my house. He also spent Christmas at my house.
When we were exchanging presents, he pulled out a little thing and he
said, “This is for you.” It was a little white hanky. It was the only
thing he could afford.
A year later David got up and talked
about his conversion to Christ. The minute he took the mic and began to
speak, I said, “The man is a preacher.” This past Easter we ordained
David. He is an associate minister of a church over in New Jersey … and I
was so close to saying, “Here, take this, I’m a busy preacher.”
get so full of ourselves.