When I am out and about, I enjoy blessing people. A few months ago, I went to a restaurant and ended up buying meals for two businessmen. That led to a wide-ranging conversation with them, and I actually sat at their table for a while! It was a lot of fun.
This time, while I was there, I found myself deciding between two different tables to bless. They both had what looked like businessmen sitting at them. They seemed to be on the road and getting some last-minute work done before they turned in for the night. As I pivoted around to look at the guy behind me one more time, he was gone. Even I am smart enough to know you can’t bless someone who has disappeared!
When I bought Noah’s meal and explained to him that Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, I had no idea that we would have such a wonderful give-and-take. Of course, as always, God’s timing is perfect!
Here is an email I received from Noah shortly thereafter:
Thank you so much for being obedient that night by stepping out to start a conversation with me and paying for my dinner (I knew I should have ordered the steak). I was down in Atlanta taking a test for a certification in air filtration because I am in the process of transitioning out of full-time student ministry at a church in Raleigh. My last day is February 28th.
Currently, our youth group resembles our neighborhood, which is primarily refugees from around the world. After meeting a small group of kids during a Bible study in an apartment, the kids began walking one and two miles to the church before I began sending a volunteer to pick them up. It’s been so exciting to see them grow in Christ and bring their friends to hear the good news.
I was hired four years ago by our former pastor who came out of the mission field with a huge heart for reaching the lost. It was so awesome to work alongside him and the Holy Spirit and to be reaching the lost these past few years. When he resigned in September, I was told by the church leadership that things were going to change, and I was not going to be allowed to bring the kids from the community for church anymore. They wanted to hire a young pastor to grow the church, and they needed a youth group that was more appealing to a greater majority of people. They hired a new pastor January 1st, and I was told that starting March 1st, there would be no shuttle service for the community. We have the van, we have the volunteers, but they simply didn’t want the kids to come. I can’t be a part of that, and I gave my 60-day notice.
We began praying for a church close by that would open their doors to these kids. The Lord provided a church a mile away and that pastor just told me on Wednesday they’d be thrilled to have them. Praise the Lord! We didn’t want there to be any lapse with the kids for the enemy to take advantage of.
I’ll be volunteering with this new church, but I need an income. I see money in the HVAC business, which requires a certification, and the earliest testing site was in Atlanta. There’s so much more to the story, Mark, but as I sat there alone in that restaurant, you reminded me that He knows where I am and that He cares. He is able to provide for my every need, six hours from home, in a bar, on a Monday. He is so faithful.
Almighty God is always checking our hearts. If you want to bless some young people with the truths of God’s Holy Writ, oh yes, He will find a way to make that happen!
But as life progresses and challenges arise, we all need some encouragement. I was glad that I could encourage Noah that evening, but trust me, I was also encouraged by him. He reminded me that there are still plenty of faithful folks out there serving our Lord.
I was able to give Noah some books after we chatted since he likes to read. He has already signed up for our newsletters. Please say a prayer for Noah to stay faithful to what God wants him to do.
And remember to hang out with people who look different than you. Why? One, it is a ton of fun, and two, Heaven is going to be like that!
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Until the Nets are Full,
P.S. The human skeletal system is amazing, as this short animation shows. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Evolution can’t account for this kind of precision and brilliance.