Last night in our Men’s Bible study my Brother in Christ, Johnny shared a story. That day he found himself walking 13 miles in the dead heat of July in Las Vegas… 100 Plus Degrees… trying to get to a very important appointment.
Johnny is a retired professional boxer who has pain from past injuries he lives with every day. But he is resilient, heck I don’t even like driving 13 miles! During this journey he came to a point where he had to go to his knees in pain. So he reached out to some friends for help. One friend just happened to live right by the very place he was trying to get to… and this friend Johnny had helped out in the past… in fact Johnny had to drop everything to go help this friend with a stranded vehicle one time (Johnny is a private mechanic now), so if anyone would help… this would be the guy.
Except, that didn’t happen. In fact, the guy basically told him “sorry, I’m already home, I can’t help you”. Did you catch that? The guy who was broken down on the side of the road, the guy that Johnny dropped everything for, the guy that Johnny ran to when in trouble… THAT guy couldn’t help Johnny who was walking 13 miles in the desert heat!
How do you think Johnny responded in that situation? How would you respond? Anger, rage, disgust, contempt, bitterness? All of those responses seem reasonable enough, given the circumstances. Johnny however felt hurt more than anything, like he finally knew who his real friends were. He felt let down and probably a little abandoned. As I listened to Johnny tell this story I could see the conflict within, I could see the struggle on his face and as I sat there listening intently, it dawned on me.
Johnny saw life through the eyes of Jesus Christ that day.
Here is what I mean, and how I explained it to Johnny at the Bible Study. Jesus just like Johnny has a heart of mercy. Jesus gives us EVERYTHING he has… he pours all of himself into us every day. In fact at the cross he literally poured his life blood out for us. FOR US. Let that sink in for a minute and think back to all the times in your life, when you found yourself broken down on the side of the road. No I don’t mean with a flat tire, I mean spiritually broken down on the road of life. When I am honest with myself, I can easily see the countless times Jesus came to rescue me, to get me back on the road. Then when Jesus calls for me, how many times have I ignored the call all together?
See, Jesus will ALWAYS be the friend that drops everything and runs to help you in time of need. You can always count on him, just like you can count of the morning sun.
Johnny asked a great question that night, when do you stop giving? When do you stop letting people walk all over you? When is enough enough? The answer? Never. Johnny was blessed by God with a gift of Mercy, and this spiritual gift was imparted by the Holy Spirit for one purpose, to BUILD THE KINGDOM of GOD (Romans 12:3-8). What better way to build the Kingdom of God then to be a living example every day of his love, grace, patience and mercy?
Whenever you find yourself asking the question, when is enough enough? Ask yourself a follow up question… how many times have you walked on God? How many times have you sinned against your creator? How many times has He forgiven you? When is enough enough??
Larry, a mentor of mine, once told Johnny to never lose his heart of mercy and Larry is right. Johnny should keep giving and giving and giving with open hands and a tender heart. This is what God built Johnny to do. We all may have different gifts and talents and functions within the Body of Christ, but we all can learn a lesson from Johnny’s story.
We can learn to stop and see life through the eyes of Christ.
We might be amazed at what we see.