This friend also had a son whom I also know well. The son (who is also a Christian) and I have had many talks of the Lord, His church, and of issues concerning Christianity. I sat in bed today recounting one of our discussions. He told me that his father, who wanted to see his former friends saved, many of whom were alcoholics or former alcoholics, would invite them to church in hopes that God would reach them in grace, only to find they were shunned. They didn't fit into this church that was settled in an upscale community. These people who were destroyed by alcohol couldn't find a friend among people who claimed the name of Christ, so they left as spiritually poor as they came. I sat in the darkness of my bedroom thinking of this and becoming angry. Then God gave me a David and Nathan moment.
Yesterday was a good day. All Sundays are a good days for preachers. You study and constantly think on your text that you will soon deliver, you anticipate, mentally rehearse, pray, and finally let it all loose on Sunday morning. When it's all over for me, I feel I can rest from my mental exhaustion. Yesterday was no different. After our worship time, and after escorting the last person to his car, Deb and I headed to a restaurant to meet up with three wonderful, elderly, Christian ladies. After lunch we walked back to our car to head home, but as we did, a car pulled into the parking lot with a big dog in the back seat that caught our attention. The car drove past us and parked very near our car, so we were able to strike up a conversation with the dog's owner. Enter my David and Nathan moment.
As the woman got out of her car, I could see that her car was not very clean both inside and out. It sat rather low to the ground, and looked like it bore the strain of quite a few rough Maine winters. The woman was older than I thought at first glance, and her wrinkles seemed to reveal a hard life. Of course, this was my personal assessment. She was wearing a long dress that was reminiscent of those that girls wore back in the late 60's and early 70's. I believe they called them peasant dresses. This woman looked like an old hippy. She looked the part of something I always imagined I'd be if I didn't come to Christ. She stood out as very peculiar, weird to me. Deb and I have gone out of our way to speak to people in hopes to invite them to church, but as we spoke with this woman I thought to myself that she'll never fit in with us. So, I walked to my car while Deb spoke with her for another five minutes, gave her our card, and invited her to church.
This morning I sat In bed, wide awake in the very early hours, irritated by the unfriendliness and lack of compassion and grace that a church exhibited toward the buddies of my friend; that was until God pointed His finger at me and said, "Thou art the man."
Lord, thank you for showing me what I really am in myself, but then quickly reminding me of what you did in order to pay for my sins. I'm embarrassed by my judgmental attitude, but elated over your favor toward me, my friends and wife, and the lady we met in the parking lot.