Close Encounters (of the spiritual kind)

DHBC Newsletter Sept 2012

Pastor’s Pen

He was a man with not much money to purchase clothes to look like you and I. His language at times came with strong profanity. His appearance would not be accepted by your mother or your best friend. Just because he isn’t able to conform to “normal” standards that society accepts, he is still loved by our heavenly Father.

His name is Mr. Joseph Johnson and he spoke with me this past week. He carried a burden much too heavy to bear. He asked me to listen to his story. I came to him not as a pastor (He doesn’t even know what I do for a living) but as a friend. My theological training was not necessary. The class on making friends and influencing others was not needed, either. I didn’t want to convert him to add and to gain spiritual points to post on my refrigerator. We sat, we shared, we cried and then he shared more. His life was soon coming to a dead end. He sought answers.

God, through His great providence, brought us together. It was ordained by the foundations of the world for us to talk. My title, my training, my status, my name meant nothing to him. I pointed this man to the most important person in my life – Christ- by means of the holy, sacred scriptures. We talked and looked at the scriptures for about one hour. Joseph’s time of repentance will take place sooner than later. I’ve done what the Father has asked me. I told him of God’s love, grace and truth. “Father, in your own timing, Joseph will believe”, I whispered. Never, never, ever think that you determine who should hear the gospel. When you talk with anyone, you become like Jesus! I asked Joseph if I could pray for him. We bowed our heads, I simply prayed that God would lead him to the knowledge and understanding of Christ through the Scriptures.

As we lifted our heads, tears were rolling from his eyes. He stated, “That’s heavy!” I wondered, had he not talked to God before? Hadn’t anyone ever prayed with him before? Was this his last opportunity to hear the Good News? The gospel seed had been planted. Opportunities do take place in our lives. We must take advantage when they do. “Thanks”, was his last parting word to me. We may never meet again on earth. My hope is that his viewpoint about Christians and his new found knowledge of God’s love would cause him to seek our Lord Jesus. When you are generous and truly help those in need, you are actually doing so to Jesus. When you do it to the least of these, it is as if you’re helping Jesus Himself! We touch lives and build relationships to the glory of God when we sit and talk to the least of these.

Dan Gutierrez
Pastor for Preaching
Drexel Heights Baptist Church