Due to the long hours of my summer work schedule I have trouble finding time to write. Therefore I will post one of my first “Watchman Chronicles” that I wrote way back in 2003.
I have just finished reading a book by Mark Cahill called "The One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven." (If you have ever struggled with sharing your faith in Jesus, this book will both challenge and help equip you to share Christ more comfortably with every one you come into contact with, friends and strangers alike.) Having my heart freshly stirred and eyes newly opened to a lost and dying world, who is in desperate need the Savior‘s love, a world of souls that will slip into eternity without the answer, unless "we" care enough to share Christ’s love with them. My family and I were in the mall in Rapid City looking for a dress for our teenage daughter, when we saw a scrungy looking man who appeared to be homeless sitting on a bench, wrapped in a dirty blanket. I felt God tug at my heart to go talk to him, share Christ’s love with him, or minister to him in some way. I resisted and didn't do it. I told God, "I don't know what to say to a total stranger. God surely you know I have trouble talking to people I know. I'm just not ready to do that yet."
I passed this man several more times that afternoon as we made our way around the mall. Each time I would feel the Spirit leading me to visit with him, and each time I would push it away, and go about my business. Late that afternoon as we were preparing to leave, I had purchased a large cinnamon roll from a vender for our family to share on the long ride home. As I was headed through the mall toward the car, I felt God impress me again. “Give your roll to that homeless man.” I began to argue with God about giving "my" roll to a strange man. The argument continued as I approached the bench where the homeless man had been sitting. A ting of relief hit me when I realized that the bench where he had been sitting was now empty. My eyes scanned up and down the mall. Then I spotted him in the distance, slowly making his way toward the exit. “Should I run and catch up with him…? I had probably lost my opportunity to talk with him but I could at least give him my roll as an expression of God‘s love.” My feet didn’t move as I stood watching him round the corner and go out the exit door.
For days I couldn’t get the image of that moment out of my mind. I could see myself standing there watching as this man walked out the mall door and fell directly into eternity without Christ. I had done nothing to help him, show him Christ’s love, or share the gospel with him. According to Matthew 25:35-40, I had seen Jesus and let Him walk away without ministering to Him. I prayed for forgiveness for not obeying the Spirits leading. I kept thinking that what if God had brought this man to the mall that day so I could share Jesus love with him and I had failed? My fear had kept me from obedience, and had kept this man form an encounter with the love of the Almighty. What if he steps into eternity without Jesus, when maybe I could have been the last person to share Jesus love and grace with him?
As the days have passed since that encounter, I have resolved to be more bold and obedient to the Spirits leading. God has used the memory of that experience and lost opportunity to change me. I have become more aware of the hurting souls I encounter each day, be it a stranger, a store clerk, or a teenager I see at the ball game. I have definitely been changed for the better. Then one day it dawned on me, “God hadn’t sent me to the mall that day to change a homeless man! God had sent a homeless man to the mall that day, to change ME!”