2 Corinthians 11:30
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Oftentimes we only share the success stories in our walk with Christ, this isn’t one of those times, I want to share a moment of weakness that I hope will encourage you to think about how and when we engage people no matter what the circumstance.
About a month ago me and some guys from my church went to play football in Durham. It was a good game, I scored a touchdown, had several completions and we won the game, even if we would’ve lost, the fellowship was cool. While playing I notice a group of kids over by the bleachers I had my wallet over there because after game, everyone had to chip in for rental the field. I know, I know, yes I’m from the hood and I know all about not leaving my wallet out, but the walk was way too far to leave it in the car. Anyways after the game ended I went to get my wallet and phone. The phone was there, the wallet was there, but the $50 I took with me was missing, I don’t want to say I was PO’d, let’s just say I was righteously ticked off. I looked up and noticed the same kids about fifty yards away playing on a field and the first thing I yelled was “DON’T GET AMNESIA NOW”, I began to walk over there and as I walked a few of the guys that came with me followed me. I felt violated, abused and chumped, but I must admit I just wanted my $50 back. When I got to the basketball court that they were playing on I said “who has my wallet, this can end bad for you, either you can give it up or we can call the cops”. They all denied it and said that some little kids took it, but I knew that wasn’t true. I urged them to return my money and assured them that I wasn’t there to fight I’m a Christian and I’m a pastor; these kids were 17-18 years old and I didn’t want to see these young men destroy their future, but again I wanted my money back. One of the guys had his juvee tag tatted on his neck (for my urban illiterate brothers and sisters, that means he had his juvenile detention number tattooed on his neck) and he looked at the guy I was talking to and said give him his money man, I can’t go back to juvee. The teen took off his shoe and gave me my money back and I looked at him and asked was it worth it, he said no. I asked him if he knew Jesus and if he believed in Him and he said said yes, I said don’t lie to me man and he said no. I called all of the guys over (it was about 10 of them) and I prayed for God to save him and show him his love. I felt good after that felt like God was glorified in what seemed like a bad situation.
While in most cases this would seem like a great story of gospel success, I must admit that it was an “epic fail”. This is the first time I’m sharing this story because I felt like I needed to sit on it and really hear from God, but I failed this young man horribly. I didn’t get his information, I didn’t get his name and I can’t follow-up. While I believe God can still use the situation and in some he’ll be impacted, I was more concerned with the return of my money than this young man’s soul. This situation didn’t shock God in anyway and I was given an opportunity to show this young man someone that cares; Jesus and how he can change this man’s life, he bore his sins so he longer has to steal, but I prayed and left and that’s all. I wanted to share this because as much as I preach, teach and develop leaders, there are plenty of times when I’m rejected and I fail to present the gospel because of fear, pride and even arrogance. I pray that me sharing this will cause you to slow down and really think about the condition of our fallen world and realize everything we see is a result of sin, but can be redeemed, Jesus came to redeem people and the message of redemption can’t be drive-by prayers as in my case, but must be life-on-life interaction, even with those that have done you wrong. I know we can’t disciple EVERY single person we meet in passing, but this was clearly a divine appointment if there ever was one. Divine appointments don’t always come in favorable situations, they sometimes appear in the form of being talked about, offended or even robbed. He took $50 dollars from me which I can replace (overtime because a brotha is a church planter), but what I had to offer him is priceless. The good news is I have other opportunities, but I want to maximize everyone that God allows, the gospel is good news if it get’s there in time. We’re not responsible for conversion, but we are responsible for sharing this message.
He stole from me, but I robbed him! The good news is there’s grace for him to get saved and there’s grace for me to get better and there’s grace for you. Wherever you fall, there’s always room at the fathers table!