Last March, at the beginning of the Lenten season, I wrote a blog suggesting that my readers find ways to speak the name of Jesus to as many as possible, as a Lenten commitment. Easter is about the great gift of Jesus that God gave the world. Acts 4:12 reads: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” I hope that you have found opportunities to share the name of Jesus during these Lenten weeks.
I wrote another blog post about the young boy who found a twenty-dollar bill in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel. His dad was killed in Afghanistan shortly after he was born. The 8-year-old gave his “found money” to another soldier that walked into the restaurant. I suggested that each of us keep a twenty-dollar bill handy and allow the Lord to show us the person who needed it.
I want you to know that I don’t challenge my readers with things that I don’t also challenge myself with. I have shared the name of Jesus with several interesting people over these weeks. Just recently the Lord showed me who needed my twenty-dollar bill. I was late for an appointment with no time to spare. Isn’t that ALWAYS the way ministry works? God usually doesn’t give us time, he asks us to take the time to serve him.
I was in my car, getting ready to leave a store parking lot when a man approached me. He kept a safe distance so as not to scare me and there were many other people around. He said his niece and her baby were in the car and he was out of gas and money. He was trying to get back home. He asked if I could please help out, saying that he would appreciate anything I could give.
I’m always cautious at times like this. We all read the news reports of bad things that can happen. I usually hesitate to give cash, not knowing if I am enabling an addiction or weakness. If I had not needed to get to my appointment, I would typically have asked him to follow me to a gas station so I could fill the car with gas.
But I felt a peaceful sense that God wanted me to help. I made sure I was safe and looked for my wallet. I had several ones and thought I would give him those. But then, I saw the folded twenty and knew I was to give him that instead. I told him that the Lord wanted him to have it and that I hoped it would be a blessing in his life.
When he saw the bill, his eyes filled with tears and he ran over to his car. He pressed the bill against the car window and told his niece, “We are home!” He then waved and thanked me over and over, looking up to the sky in gratitude. For me, the gift was not a big thing…but for him – it meant he could go home.
I prayed for the man and his niece as I drove away, praying that they would submit their lives and circumstances to God.
It is Maundy Thursday, the day Jesus sat with his apostles and shared the Passover meal with them. The New Covenant with mankind was presented when Jesus taught his disciples what he wanted them to “remember” from then on. The bread and the wine were to be our reminder that Jesus gave his body and his blood for all of us, so that we could receive complete forgiveness for our sins.
Easter is about what we can give, but even more, it is about what God has given. Who will you share the good news of Easter with before Sunday? Who will you invite to share your Easter Sunday celebration? People need to know Jesus, but they need someone to help them know how that is possible.
The commitment to “give” isn’t just about the Lenten season. Easter Sunday God’s children will celebrate the fact that Jesus is our Savior. Monday, let’s “remember” that Jesus is also our Lord.
All of us at the Denison Forum wish you a blessed and holy Easter!