"Leslie was just a normal guy in tough circumstances", "no one will be able to seize me", "the small card board sign saying - GOD BLESS YOU", "until my time comes", in awe of God's goodness, Jesus' love changes things, professor and student, role-reversal, the Gospel of John, time
When reading the following response that J submitted to a particular assignment, what else could I say but, “What an honor to be taught by this kind of student!!” [BTW, J has an inner city ministry with youth in her town]
Although I’ve read the Gospel of John countless times before this class, new concepts in unfamiliar verses grabbed my attention over this past month. I still think back to a week 3’s question about Jesus not being seized. “So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come”. . . “So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him” (John 7:30, 45).
This passage and assignment really moved me. Just as God protected Jesus, I believe that God will not let anyone seize me until my time has come. I wrote those verses on an index card and put that in my car. Now, when I am moved by the Spirit to help a homeless person or someone in need, I can have faith and confidence that God will protect me.
Earlier this afternoon, I put my belief into action for the first time. I actually stopped for a homeless person. I saw him in the distance, holding his small cardboard sign that read “GOD BLESS YOU”. I rolled down my window at the red light ahead of me, and told him to meet me at Burger King a block away. I parked at a Walgreen’s nearby, walked across the street to B.K., and found this man there. He was older with long gray hair. He looked dirty, scruffy, and had multiple layers on him to stay warm. We walked into the restaurant and I was surprised about his lack of hunger and thirst as I offered to buy him a meal. I learned that his name was Leslie and he had a daughter who was sick. He had a few kids. . . . I asked Leslie why he held up that cardboard sign that said “GOD BLESS YOU”. He told me it was because he believed it. I told him I believed in God too.
He seemed in a hurry, so I gave him a gospel tract, told him that God loves him, and walked back across the street as we departed ways. I was starting to drive away when he approached my car in the parking lot, and asked for another dollar for the bus fare. I had spent my last dollar last night, but found an ATM inside Walgreen’s. Leslie waited outside as I went in the store to get cash. Unsure how much to give him, I broke a twenty dollar bill and bought him a large bottle of water. As I headed back outside, I gave him the bottle of water and eight dollars. His eyes got big when he saw one five-dollar bill with a few other small bills. Slowly, his eyes started to water as he was blown away that someone would stop and talk to him. After he thanked me again and went on his way, I headed back to my car in awe of God’s goodness.
Leslie was just a normal guy in tough circumstances. I was blessed to have parents to provide financially for me. He wasn’t so blessed. We are both humans, both sinners, and I could have been like Leslie. However, the circumstance he is in now does not determine his future. I told him one last time, “Jesus loves you”, got in my car, and drove off.
Jesus’ love changes things. I didn’t sit down and tell Leslie the gospel message, but the ten minutes that I did spend getting to know him and blessing him financially brought him to tears. From this experience, I have confidence that God will protect me wherever I go. If His Spirit calls me to do it and I obey, He will watch over me. No one will be able to seize me!