Recently, I went to a local restaurant hoping to watch a ball game that wasn’t provided by my cable provider. I found myself a seat at the bar closest to the televisions on the wall. While doing something I rarely have time to do, I discovered God had greater plans. Part of this plan involved me buying my first shot of Vodka.
About five minutes into the game, my God given assignment arrived. This man was pleasant, friendly, and just looking for a place to unwind. He ordered a shot of vodka and waited on his appetizer as we struck up a conversation. I learned a whole lot in a short amount of time. Quickly, I knew I was looking at a man who needed someone to care much more about him than any meaningless ball game.
You see, this man just left a marriage of over 25 years and was still coping with a seriously broken heart. He was still out there working hard and trying his best on the outside. However, on the inside he was dying a slow death. Everything he held dear had been stripped away. I could see in his eyes that he cared about his family just as much as I do mine. I could hear in his voice that he sincerely wanted to get his life on track, but he felt like he was stuck in the bottom of a well.
He watched his step son drink himself to death. Just a few years before, he discovered him dead on the living room couch. Another son of his was headed to jail. All his years of marriage he watched his wife spend every pay check at the liquor store daily before crashing each night. Over time he did everything he could to fix those he loved. He finally reached the conclusion these problems were way bigger than he could fix.
Now, he found himself trying to make sense of it all. He has not lived long in this area and doesn’t have a local support system. He lives alone in a camper where he ponders daily his grief. The main thing he needed to hear was that God had not given up on him. That God still answers prayers. That God would never quit walking by his side and carrying him through the difficulties this life presents.
There were no miracles I could perform for this man. However, I did everything within my power to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I felt compelled by God to tell this man that he now has a friend. That he and I were one in the same. We are both sinners, desperate for God’s grace and mercy. We are both travelers on a journey we can’t always control. Yet, because of Jesus Christ we are never without hope.
This man had pondered taking his own life very recently. We both agreed that this was clearly not the answer. I told him, I discovered that the only person I can take responsibility for is me. That God begins His greatest work when we come to the end of ourselves. How God promises to take care of all those who put all their eggs in His basket. I invited him to join me at Refuge Church in Walterboro where he will always be met with unconditional love and uplifting truth.
This gentleman departed shortly before the game got over. It was not until after I paid the bill I discovered that I had just bought my first shot of Vodka. I can’t even tell you what that stuff taste like. I can tell you, God used it to encourage a man who was struggling. God used it to speak not only to His heart, but mine as well. We have since exchanged phone numbers and text messages.
My friends, men like this are everywhere. Turn off your ball game, slow down your pace, and look for God given opportunities to share God’s love. I find it hard to believe that anyone with God’s love within them wouldn’t stop to share that love with those hurting around them. It doesn’t have to cost you a dime, but it did cost me a shot of Vodka on this particular occasion.
“Jesus said , “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
Are you looking for answers and don’t know where to turn? Do you feel lost and like no one cares? Join Pastor Craig Sundays 9:15 or 11am @ Refuge Church. A place you can always come as you are, but never leave the same