I was reminded last week that the Lord’s sending may not always look like we might expect. On my way to a ministry meeting out of town, I stopped to put gas in my truck. As I started to get back into the truck, I heard someone say, “Sir…” I turned and saw a Haitian man standing by a dilapidated vehicle. He was dressed in dirty jeans and a torn t-shirt. A real down-and-outer.
Having my attention he said, “Sir, could you give me some money so I can buy something to eat?” I must confess that all the usual thoughts ran through my mind in a split second. How many other people has he asked for money today? Will he spend the money on food, or on something else? Besides, I was on my way to a ministry event. I didn’t have time for this. So I shook my head, got in my truck, and left.
Has the Holy Spirit ever hit you in the chest with a sledgehammer? The moment I pulled out of the service station I was hit with the sledgehammer of conviction. How could I leave the guy standing there? Then I remembered Hebrews 13:2 that says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” I thought, “Oh great! I might have just stood up an angel!”
Worse yet, what if he wasn’t an angel? What if he really was just a hungry guy with no money. Didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink”? When His listeners asked when they had done this, Jesus explained in v40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
By now the conviction was overwhelming. Turning my truck around, I drove back to the service station where the man was standing by his battered old vehicle with his head hung low. Pulling up I rolled the window down and waved to him. As he approached my truck I saw tears streaming down his face. Apparently, he really was hungry and had no money. The tears were those of frustration. He was in need, but no one was willing help.
I introduced myself, apologized for leaving, then explained why I came back. Handing him some money, I took his hand and told him that Jesus loved him and so did I.
As I pulled out of the service station for the second time, I remembered the words of Jesus, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Ministry opportunities may present themselves at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. Some are big. Others are small. All are important. Even a cup of cold water given in His name will yield a reward.
Pastor Todd Weston