September 15, 2015
THE GARBAGE MAN’S INTEGRITY
Definition of integrity: (thefreedicionary.com)
–“to test”, “to make honest”
I awoke this morning at 3:30. My mind kicked in. Promises, promises…. Lately, I found myself saying I would do this or that and have for one reason and the other not followed through. This is not me at all. I remember my father as a man of his word and I endeavored in my life to follow his example. I was a person of my word. If I said I would do something, I did it.
Some time ago I committed to return to my blog and continue speaking life to those who needed encouragement and strength. That is what God called me to do…to go and strengthen my brethren. I was feeling a little discouraged in my efforts recently and I asked Him what use I was. I was not seeing the dead raised or the lame walk, or blind eyes opened or other mighty signs and wonders in my ministry. He reminded me that he had not sent me to do what man expected me to do but He had sent me to open prison doors for those who were bound in doubt, fear and brokenness…whose lives had been slapped around as a result of, or resulting in, poor decision making. (By the way: life is entirely made up of a sequence of decisions we make…good or bad.)
This was not all He spoke. He spoke something new: “Go and commit what you have seen and heard to faithful men who will be able to teach others the same.” (2Tim 2:3) This was consistent with His instruction over the past year or 2…”Go and tell them what YOU have seen and heard.” This was an amazing epiphany: not what OTHERS have seen and heard, but what I have seen and heard. This command greatly settled me in my spirit. “Yes, Lord,” was my response. But recently He has added further insight as I pondered my value to the scheme of things here where He sent me, questioning Him as to whether I was really of any use. He spoke, “I have made you an “influence”. Wow! This brought things into clear perspective. Yes, I could see this, and now I was settled. Now I understood why He spoke before one of my meetings last fall, telling me that there would not be any healings there or deliverances. This was not my calling…IT WOULD COME, but through another’s calling. AMEN! My part was to influence, to bring enlightenment and understanding…to turn the light on, so to speak. Yes, I would bring sight to the blind…spiritual sight. Amen to that too.
Now to get on with why I sat down at my computer this morning.
Yesterday…Sunday…started out a most peculiar day. I was up and ready for Church on time and looked forward to fellowship with my friends and church family. But something was amiss. The Lord was speaking, but somehow I just was not getting it.
“What are You saying?” I asked, feeling somewhat impatient with Him. He has a new manner of getting my attention and sometimes it takes some focus to figure out what He wants and it can become frustrating if I don’t get it. This morning all I wanted was to join with my brothers and sisters in celebrating Him and each other. The summer had been so disjointed and disruptive without much fellowship and now it was fall and time to settle in again. But He persisted that there was something He wanted me NOT to do. It seemed that He was telling me I was not to join with my beloved friends for worship. Then the question came, “Where then?” There was only one other church that I could think of and that was a 35 minute drive, making me an hour late for their service. I headed out, feeling disgruntled and complaining that I had better have heard Him right or I would be a mess all week.
I missed worship completely. Worship is such a joy and strength to me that I continued with the attitude that this had better be God. The Word was good as it always was when I joined with this amazing group of saints, but I wasn’t hearing anything that would warrant my 1 hour tardiness or abandonment of my own fellowship until Pastor began to share a story. Now because I was not completely tuned in at the beginning, I may not have all the details correct…you are most welcome to correct me if any part of this story is not quite accurate. But here is what I remember. True story.
“There is a city in Egypt known as Garbage City. There are 300,000 people who live in this city…literally a garbage dump. They survive by rummaging through the garbage and then selling what they find. They do this by going into a nearby city and where they collect the garbage and return to Garbage City to sort and retrieve any small items that they might find and sell back to the people of that nearby city.
Word was out that a rich man of the nearby city had lost his watch. The watch was valued at $11,000. This would certainly change the life of whoever found the watch. The search was on. Well…it was found amongst the garbage collected by an impoverished man in rags in Garbage City. This man’s life was about to change forever. He was now a rich man. That’s what everyone thought. But the man was not concerned about becoming rich at all. He was only concerned about his integrity. He had devoted his life to Jesus Christ and he wanted to do what Jesus would do. Without hesitation the man took the watch and located the rich man in the nearby city, returning the watch to him. The rich man was so amazed he asked the man in rags why he would return the watch…the watch could change his life. The man in rags explained that he was a follower of Jesus Christ and he only wanted to do what Jesus would do. The rich man was so impressed he said to the man in rags. ‘If you are showing me Who Jesus is then I want what you have. I want to know the God you serve.’ The rich man invited Jesus into his heart as the man in rags had done. God took the rich man and worked great things in his life so that he went on to do great things for God and in other’s lives in the nearby city and beyond.”
Now this might first appear to be a great story of Jesus’ witness in us and through us and that would have been worth the journey for me to the neighboring church in itself, BUT there is something more amazing. On Saturday I had a conversation with a man regarding God working integrity into his life. We spoke together of an opportunity he had to take benefit for himself at the cost of someone else. I could see in the spirit that God was at work in this man, testing him and providing an opportunity for him to gain integrity in his character. I knew this man was on the Potter’s Wheel…he was a teachable man…God had His strong hand upon this man, preparing him for service. I shared what I saw. “This is a test for you. Your decision to do right will make an impact on this person you are connected with in this season.” We thought about this together, that God was at work here in his life.
Well! Praise God! His ways are surely higher than ours. If I had not responded to His prompting on Sunday morning I would have missed the opportunity to receive His confirmation for this man! Now he will read this and the Holy Spirit will confirm to him what He revealed during our discussion on Saturday. This man with be strengthened and encouraged. Amen.
We are truly walking examples of Jesus Christ! There is a trite expression that “We are the only Jesus that some might ever see.” There is a profound truth also. The man that I spoke to on the weekend is in a position of “influence”. He has an opportunity to “influence” the person he could take advantage of, to show that person who Jesus REALLY is. Amen.