Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Obedience by Paula Roten

"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice." Ezekiel 33:31

These words are haunting me lately.

I was at my grandson's house recently. When I was ready to leave, he excitedly gave me a bag and asked me to hand it out to someone homeless. 

You see, his church emphasizes ministering to the community. The congregation made up small bags with bottled water, granola bars, tissues, wet wipes, and other small needed items, and then began handing them out to the homeless people they came across. 

This project is a direct response to Matthew 25:35-36, 40: "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

My grandson and his dad have made these bags and keep them sitting on top of the refrigerator. Several weeks back, Eli got one and showed me all that was in it. He was so excited about it. Then this past Monday as I was about to walk out the door, he took one down and told me to find someone homeless to give it to. 

There is always someone sitting at the expressway exit as I turn to go toward home. So I knew this "assignment" would be easy. As I drove, I remembered reading an article one time about making up this very same type bag. They were called Blessing Bags and could be put together as a family project or even as a church mission outreach. And while my heart had been stirred by reading this article, I never did anything about it. And now my heart was stirred again. 

As I came upon the exit, I realized that no homeless person was sitting there! Then it dawned on me that I had approached this "assignment" all wrong. I had approached it like an assignment rather than as a ministry. I immediately began to pray that God would point me to just the right person who would benefit from this practical gesture. I asked the Lord to please allow me to find someone that very day on the way home, someone that He wanted to receive this blessing bag. And sure enough, not too far down the road, there someone was. As I pulled up to the stop sign, I rolled down the window, and handed the bag out to the man. 

"It sure is a hot day today, Sir. Please receive this water and this bag in Jesus' name."

He thanked me, and I drove on. 

Now, I know, some of you are wondering if that man was really homeless or just too lazy to work. I don't know the answer to that question. I just know that God answered my prayer immediately, so perhaps this particular man needed this particular bag this particular day. I also know that I was convicted about doing more to meet people's physical needs. And, finally, I know that the Holy Spirit seems to be working in my grandson's heart lately, and God allowed me to be used in His plan this particular day. I let my grandson know I had done as he had asked and handed the bag to a homeless man. He responded that that sure was fast! I replied that there are needy people all around us. I then prayed and asked God to use this incident to build my grandson's faith and to encourage him in working for the Lord and being obedient to what the Word tells us to do. 

"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice." Ezekiel 33:31

I promise that if you pray asking God how you fit into the above verse, He will most certainly show you. And when He does, I want to encourage you to be obedient.

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