A LESSON IN LIVING BY FAITH
Luke 21:10–11 (NIV84)
10Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
Night before last, Ginger and I went into McDonald’s for a coffee break, and looking around for seating, saw we had two choices. We could sit close to the playground with kids making lots of noise, or we could sit on the other side of the dining area where there was a young man who appeared to be living “rough”, and was acting strangely. I chose for us to sit one table away from the homeless guy.
Ginger and I each got a cup of coffee and enjoyed talking and sharing the time together. In the meantime, our neighbor was acting very bizarrely – talking out loud with no one there; anguishing; standing for a period and then sitting back down; skipping across the restaurant to refill his drink; going to sleep, head on table, for a couple of minutes and then awakening (several times); sometimes appearing to convulse. He went into the bathroom where the female manager confronted him about doing drugs, which he denied; but I think he went in to throw up. Later on we saw him outside twice and he was retching. It’s difficult to describe how messed-up and miserable he appeared. The gruesome details are pertinent to the message.
As we were finishing our coffee, I got his attention and asked him if he was okay. We had a fairly lucid conversation, learning that he was from the local area and had family in town. However, he was clearly living “on the street”. He said he suffered from severe migraines. His perspective was that we were kinda weird and that he was fairly normal. This was all amicable, but I clarified that it was his behavior that was aberrant. He appreciated our contact and as he was gathering his stuff to leave, I asked him if he would like for us to pray for him. He declined and mumbled something about being a “spiritual person” as he left.
Here is the first of the two points I want to emphasize in this account —
The next morning, the Lord said that I had failed Him, Jesus, and the young man. It was worthless mealy-mouth religious talk to offer to pray for the guy. I needed to ask him if he wanted Jesus to help him. I offered him a powerless exercise of a religious guy.
2 Timothy 3:5 (KJV 1900)
5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
That young man needed to meet the Lord Jesus Christ and be healed. I failed to take him there. So I hope you’ll learn from my mistake, and be able to truly help others in your walk with the Lord.
THE SECOND POINT of the message comes from Jesus’ Olivet Discourse passage in Luke 21 above.
Jesus says that in the last days there will be pestilences (plagues, in other translations). Whether it be the Coronavirus or the locust infestation happening in Africa and the Near East, these are the days in which we are now living. This is addressed in the recent post, The Life Of The Righteous In The Very Last Days, where Jesus has commanded us to live by faith in these days – hearing His voice and obeying throughout each and every day.
The encounter with that young man in McDonald’s was a clear illustration of how that plays out. The man, his long dreadlocks, and his clothes were all extremely filthy; and he was lying on his table. He was ill, and had probably been throwing up before we talked with him. When he left the restaurant, he threw his drink cup away and took his gear; leaving no visible trace of his having been there.
No employee came to clean the table, but it needed to be disinfected. Someone like you or me came later, possibly with their children, and ate their meal at that table, unaware of their exposure to the filth and possible pathogens.
At the time of this writing (02/23/20), there are over 78,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in over 24 countries, with over 2,000 deaths; and we can expect things to get worse as we continue into the End Times.
So, when you go into a restaurant, do you ask the Lord where you should sit – or even if you should eat in that place? It could mean your life.
In the above-referenced message about “The Life Of The Righteous”, the emphasis on the consequences of not hearing and following Jesus’ words was on perishing in the eternal salvation sense, but this encounter at McDonald’s drove home that our physical lives are likewise very much at stake.
Lord Jesus, by your grace may we be found abiding in You!
February 25, 2020