I love when God teaches me something and then immediately gives me the opportunity to put it into practice.
This morning during my quiet time I went again to the book "A Gospel Primer" by Milton Vincent. I've copied the short passage down for you... anyone know if this is highly illegal? If I give credit is it ok???
Check out what I read.
Like nothing else could ever do, the gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.
When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ. Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I. Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me. Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?
Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show him. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the persons will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.
The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the gospel to my own benefit as well.
What a humbling passage. What a good reminder of my own condition before God. What a gift to get to see it this morning.
But of course, as always, I don't learn things the first go round:
When purchasing my breakfast, I also bought two sandwiches for this poor couple. As I started walking toward them, the man saw me and walked my direction. I put the two sandwiches in his worn grimy hands. He looked me in the eyes and told me: "Thank you. God bless."
I walked back to the car while he returned to his post. I watched to see if he would eat the sandwich or if he would throw it out, there only for the money. He spoke to the woman then put the sandwiches in a bag behind her wheelchair. Instantly my mind jumped to conclusions:
"He prolly gets lots of McDonald's, that's why he's chosen this corner."
"I've wasted my money buying them food they aren't going to eat. I'm sure he's already eaten this morning."
Instead of rejoicing at the opportunity to serve, I think about it logically. I decide whether or not that was an effective move. According to my wisdom it wasn't fair --he had done nothing to earn this free meal. It wasn't a worthwhile gift --he wasn't starving. It wasn't life-changing --I didn't share the Gospel. I just wasted Mike's hard earned money buy giving food to a guy who doesn't really want it.
I was remined of what I read that morning:
"But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves."
Who knows how this guy got in this situation. If he was the most undeserving and vial person on the planet, it doesn't matter.
What matters is that I got to love as God loves... ME.