I read this story recently of a man travelling through somewhere remote and far away, and thought it worth sharing. Have a read.
As I was driving home through a nearby mountainous region, I passed by a homeless man who was in a particularly bad state, walking uphill in the opposite direction. I pulled over to offer him some help. He was no ordinary homeless man. He had matted hair and an unwashed face that matched the colour of his torn clothes, which were all black from dust and soot. His shoes were mostly intact, but I thought I could see some blood seeping from one of the soles. He carried a couple of plastic bags and a small, mostly empty duffel bag in his one good hand. His other hand was in a very rough condition; it was injured quite badly. It was not raw and bleeding, but neither had it healed ‘properly’.
I got out of my car and started walking beside the man, trying to speak to him. ‘Hello’, I said. ‘Where are you from? Do you need anything? Where are you going? Can I help you?’
No intelligible answer came. He looked upset at me as he rattled on incoherently, obviously wishing I would leave him alone. I tried to tell him I wanted to give him some money to buy food. He refused every effort I made to give him what was equivalent to around €10. (Local beggars would normally smile ear to ear with a much smaller gift.) I eventually succeeded only by discreetly dropping the money into his half-open duffel bag. I began to try and share the message about Calvary and the love of the Lord Jesus with him, asking if he had ever heard about Jesus. It didn’t look like he was even hearing my voice. I began to think he was deaf from the way he never responded directly to anything I said. He just became more agitated the longer I walked with him up the hill away from my car. I finally left him in peace and began to pray for him as I walked back down the hill.
If only the man knew...
That I could have taken him to bathe and wash all the dirt away.
That I could have thrown away his dirty, torn clothes and given him clean garments to wear.
That I could have given him healthy food and clean water to drink.
That I could have taken him somewhere to wash his wounds and nurse him back to health.
That I could have given him a safe and comfortable place to rest for as long as he needed.
As I thought of what the man was rejecting, I couldn’t help but be reminded of mankind
in general. The average person may not look as desperate as this man did on the outside, but if the state of the heart of Mr and Miss Average could be seen as God sees it, it would be incomparably worse than any unclean homeless man.
And not only that, but Mr and Miss Average are deaf and blind to the voice of God, even though He speaks clearly to us from the beauty of creation and from the pages of the
Bible. They see the world God made, and refuse to give Him glory. They might even get to hear the Word of God, but plug their ears and babble on about whatever man-exalting notions they can think of to try and justify their refusal to simply repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
If only sinners knew...
That Jesus could cleanse them and wash all their sins away. He has paid the punishment
for the sins of everyone who will come to Him seeking forgiveness and new life.
That Jesus could strip away the filthy garments of iniquity and clothe them with His merit so that they can stand before God with a clean conscience.
That Jesus could give them bread from Heaven and rivers of living water that will never run dry, filling their hearts with love, joy and peace.
That Jesus could one day give them a glorified body free from every wound and pain and take them to be with him in Heaven.
Please realize that your heart may be dirtier and sicker and more starved of all good than you could ever imagine. At the end of the day it is how God sees us that matters most, not how we see ourselves or indeed how others see us. Repent of your sins while you still can, and believe that the Son of God died on the cross and rose from the dead on your behalf!