October 28, 2011
"And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone." Luke 8:37
A few months ago I grew tired of the guilt I experienced each time I passed the face of a homeless person without stopping to offer assistance (although in this case I am certain I felt more conviction than guilt). To appease my convicted heart I packed resealable bags with jars of peanut butter, crackers and a booklet-sized version of Rick Warren's book, A Purpose Driven Life, titled, What On Earth Am I Here For? (you can buy 10 of these booklets for $12 at Christianbook.com . . . I'm just sayin'). I placed the bags inside a box which resides in my car.
On our way home from the store today the girls and I passed a man who held a sign that read, "Homeless, please help." As Satan would have it, due to a recent trip in which we needed every ounce of available space inside the car (you with multiple kiddos understand the dilemma), my box of supplies laid at home. Determined not to simply pass by this man without extending him a glimmer of hope, I drove home, retrieved the bags, and returned to the store parking lot. (The mommy who likes to stick to a schedule would like to mention that at this point it was well past nap time . . . for all of us.) The girls and I located our man and as I drove near I rolled down my window so that he could see I had something to give to him. Cars stacked up behind me. Sensing a lack of desperation in his face I decided to ask, "Would this help?" to which he examined the contents of my bag, wrinkled his nose and said, "Nah, no thanks. But thanks anyway."
Perhaps he's allergic to peanut butter. Maybe he's more of a PB & J type of guy. At least he had manners. I tried to reason to myself.
Then in crept the bitterness.
I got a nose crinkle! How dare he claim to be in need but reject my offering of free food and a good read.
Then it hit me.
How many times have I been in need but rejected the One who offers to feed me the bread of life?
The food I offered the homeless man might have sustained him for a few hours. Jesus offers us food which sustains us throughout all eternity. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never
be hungry again. Whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35).
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4). God's promises sustain us more than any four-course meal. The Son of God enters our life and fills us with the power to live as more than conquerors in every situation through Him. Yet how many times have I said to Him and His Ways, "Thanks, but no thanks."
That's exactly what the Gerasenes said.
In Mark 6 we read of a man possessed by evil spirits. Upon His arrival the spirits immediately recognize Jesus and beg Him for mercy. Jesus casts the spirits into a nearby herd of pigs, and the pigs run into a lake and drown. Did the crowd erupt with a wave of cheers? A man possessed by taunting spirits now stood healed! Nope. No attaboy's for Jesus. Instead, the crowd asked Him to leave. "Thanks Jesus, but no thanks. Your ways are too much for us. You're not quite what we were looking for."
We're all in need of a Savior. The life-sustaining power of Christ and His Word awaits. His arm rests extended from the widows of Heaven. Will you accept His offering?