Good morning Jesus, I receive the love you desire to pour into me as it is my desire to pay it forward and pour love into those I encounter today.
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, but when he saw the injured man he passed by on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ʻTake care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.ʼ Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37)
I am in an accountability group with 5 men that meets weekly at 5:30am at a local Waffle House (WH). We share our lives from the past week and speak truth into each other for encouragement and re-directing as needed. Yesterday, our encouragement came not from or table, but from the WH cook, who I will call Bill, though that is not his real name. Bill is in his late 20s, has sleeves of tattoos on both arms and is your stereotypical WH cook. He has a “fiancé” of four years, who is a waitress there as well and is pregnant and due in a month. They are not married but live together and Bill laughingly call’s her his “fiancé.” We have been meeting their WH regularly and have gotten to know him and pray over him when we pray over our meal.
Yesterday morning I asked Bill how the pregnancy is going with his fiancé and baby. He said fine, however though they need the money, she will have to cut her work shifts in half as the day is getting closer, she is getting bigger, and standing for 10 hour shifts from 9:00pm-7:00am on concrete it affecting her. He also said his church is throwing a baby shower for them after church this Sunday. I followed up and asked him where he goes to church? He said he goes to a small church in Mount Olive. (Now for geography info, Bill lives in North Huntsville and Mount Olive is in North Birmingham which is an hour and 20 minute drive one-way.) I said to him, you drive and hour and a half each Sunday to attend a church in Birmingham, why? He said about 6 months or so ago a man came into the WH for breakfast. He said he was from Bham up for business. The man attends the small church in Mount Olive and somehow in the conversation the church was brought up and how the church was struggling because it is small, averages 25 people on a Sunday, and does not have and can’t find anyone to lead worship. Bill plays guitar and sings, and during the conversation he said God put it in his heart he needed to help this small church. So Bill and his fiancé had their schedules changed to be off Sunday mornings (which if you know the WH working Sunday mornings is huge as they are one of the busiest times and all employees fight to work them because waitresses make good tips), took the financial hit to their budget which is a legit cost for them, so they can drive to Bham and back every Sunday to serve that small church. He said it is a long drive, but they are sweet people that minister to him and his wife as he ministers to them.
Compared to those who come into the WH after their church services in their church clothes for breakfast and lunch, Bill covered with tattoos and living with his unmarried, pregnant woman, looks like a “Samaritan.” However, like the widow who in Mark 12:38 put in a couple small coins and gave out of her necessity, Bill and his “fiancé” are serving Jesus in a way that actually costs them way more than just tithing like most do from excess. They joyfully drive 3 hours round trip to serve others unlike most church goers who look at their watch to see when the service ends, and they are “all in” and more real in their faith and level of discipleship than probably 99% of those that “look like they came from church” that come into the WH to be served. I would love to have a congregation of “Bills”, of Samaritan’s who are ok with it costing them to love their neighbors. God does not look at the outside of a man but into his heart, and I know the heart He sees in Bill is beautiful and brings Him great Joy!
I am going to do something I have never done before. Below is a link I include with every daily prayer and devotion I send out asking for your partnership in my ministry to those on the margins. My men’s accountability group will meet at the WH where Bill cooks again a week from today next Weds. morning Sept 25th. All donations given to that link from today until next Tuesday I will use to buy a Walmart gift card Tuesday evening and give it to Bill and his fiancé as a baby shower gift Wednesday morning to put towards items they need.
My family, I pray today you are inspired by Bill’s love and level of “all in” with loving his neighbor. I pray the Holy Spirit leads you to look past your outer appearance, and into your heart and reflect on what God sees, your level of love for your neighbor, and what actual sacrifice or cost you are bearing as a disciple of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!
I want to encourage you to join me by alsosharing with us your thoughts, comments, reflections, and prayers you received from today’s reading in the comment box below.
Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
One Direction Community
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Help Us Help Them!
I could use you’re the gift of your financial support for my family and those on the margins God has placed in my path I refuse to walk around. Please partner and support my family and ministries through setting up a monthly donation or a one –time gift by clicking the link below. Donation checks can be made out to ODC, 102 Champions Green Drive, Madison, Al 35758. As I stated above, All donations given to the link below or checks received from today until next Tuesday I will use to buy a Walmart gift card Tuesday evening and give it to Bill and his fiancé as a baby shower gift to put towards items they need.