An Encounter-Prompted Radical Praise!
I just want to share an encounter that I believe will impact our walk as the Body of Christ and the People In Charge of Change. After my niece, Christian got home from work on 2/10/2021, she wanted me to take her to the grocery store. It was around 10pm. I sat in the car… really wasn’t dressed to go inside. (house slippers and pajama top underneath the jacket) ???
At about 5 minutes in… I notice a young man around the age of 22-25 doing some strange things with his hand, with one hand holding an object. As I watched, I knew he was struggling with a mental disorder. He was standing where most of the time homeless or beggars would be at this supermarket. But I noticed he never asked anyone for anything as they went in and out of the store.
It didn’t take long before the Holy Spirit moved upon my heart, reminding me of the leftover supplies from our last charity to the homeless that I am riding around with; this young man would be a great candidate for a gift from Jesus. Surely, He wanted me to sow a seed into a life this night. I got the message. I retrieved one of the very beautiful and quality beanie caps from the back seat; I added 2 pair of men’s socks, a face mask, some life saver candies (the good peppermints), 2 valentine pens, and a blessing card with scripture on it.
I went to him, even though I looked halfway ready for bed, asked his name, and told him it was a gift from Jesus. His name is Rodney. What happened next was more of a blessing for me than for him. Rodney began to holler with a rough voice “THANK YOU JESUS!!! I LOVE YOU, TOO, JESUS!!! OHHH, LORD, THANK YOU!!!” He didn’t care who was watching; he just continued to praise God as I walked back to the car, in tears. Rodney yelled out to me, “Thank you for giving me the message from Jesus, ma’am!”
I did not expect that response. As I watched from a distance, Rodney continued to praise God in front of that store, lifting his hands up to the Lord. As he walked away holding his bike with one hand, he started blowing kisses up in the night sky to Jesus. This display of love for our Lord and appreciation of Him, I rarely even see among believers. Rodney has what many great preachers of the 1800s called reckless abandon.
Elizabeth Elliot quoted and wrote of it in her book titled, Through Gates of Splendor. “I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.” (Look for the movie with the same name. It’s very touching).
Whatever Rodney’s mental incapacities are, he knew Jesus. I pray that the scripture card in his cap hits home. The Holy Spirit of the living God aims at the hearts of men… and His Word does not return to Him void.
A word for the Body of Christ. What does Rodney possess that most believers lack? Just in receiving a gift from Jesus… even the mention of His name set his heart of praise, worship, and thanksgiving in motion. Perhaps the hunger and thirst for the Lord is still fresh with him. We must keep that freshness; possess that zeal; be radically saved to the point that our Joy of the Lord is on display no matter whose watching. Surely, this is the Salt and Light that will draw others to the Lord.
This is what drew me. I already knew the gospel, being raised in a ‘religious’ home by a preacher. But I saw that day 12/12/1981 on the faces of the people around me, the Peace of God and the Joy of the Lord. I remember saying in my heart, “Whatever they got, I want it.” I left there with Jesus in my heart. I became a Born Again believer… radically changed course and unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The very next day 12/13/1981 I got my big black bible that was collecting dust in my room and I hit the streets. I immediately began spreading the Good News. “He’s Alive!!! Jesus is Real!!!” I knew the Word of God; I just didn’t have Him living in me and wasn’t living it. He blessed my zeal and I saw many lives come to Him. People are hungry and thirsty. We must be ready and willing to give them food and water.
I often run into saints who have been in Christ for a lifetime; many of whom still do not know their gift or purpose. Let me just say we are simply to be salt and light for Jesus. When we are converted, Jesus said we are to “Go and Make disciples.” Yes, there are 2 institutions that God has ordained man to partner with Him, Procreation and Reconciliation. This encounter blessed me beyond measure. Please keep Rodney in your prayers. God knows his name.
Thank You, Lord. Rodney was my Valentine this year!
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