Last year I began meeting every Monday with Jason (not his real name) for a Bible study. Because he is in financial need I’d give him some rice to cook after every study. After about four months we stopped meeting together because Jason had no interest in the things of the Lord, and was constantly asking me to give him other things.
Last week with the Lord’s help I started meeting with Jason again
Not because a change had come to his heart…….
but a change had come to mine.
There is nothing wrong with desiring for individuals to grow spiritually. But sometimes spiritual fruit can become the only thing we care about, and we give up when it comes too slowly for our liking.
There are many individuals in the world like Jason who only seem to care about what they can get, and have no interest in God. But as Christian’s we are called to reach those hardened hearts just like the fertile soil. Reaching people like Jason is possible with the Gospel!
But it takes lots of patience
Patience For Jason
One of Jason’s biggest issues is he’s laser-focused on his physical ailments. He struggles a lot with arthritis, and has a fairly serious cataract in his eye that causes him pain. Sadly because he has little money much of Jason’s day is spent gathering plastic bottles that can recycled. This of course makes his physical problems worse. Another issue is Jason loves to drink alcohol. So lots of the money that he does have is spent on rum instead of food, or necessities.
The major reason I stopped meeting with Jason was because he refused to live in a way that glorified the Lord. He could go pick up bottles in the early morning, and then come rest himself at home for the rest of the day, but Jason didn’t want to do that. I even offered to come to his house so we could read Scripture together but he refused to tell me where he lived.
What convicted my heart wasn’t the realization of how stubborn Jason was with me……..
it was how stubborn I was with God!
The Lord helped me realize that in many ways I am just like Jason. Choosing the foolish road instead of God’s path because I’m to stubborn to admit my need for help. Then like the wicked servant who had been forgiven a great debt, I refused to show grace to Jason after the Lord had forgiven my great stubbornness.
So I reached out to Jason a few weeks ago and asked him to start coming again.
This morning we read how God healed a man with leprosy because of his faith. And I carefully explained to Jason that God DID want to heal him. But He wanted to heal his heart! Every time Jason tried to talk about his physical pain (which I know is great) I gently reminded him God was more interested in his heart. As we continued talking his distractions became quieter, and I feel he genuinely listened.
If not that’s okay….
Because I refuse to listen to God as well.
Much of missions involves sharing the Gospel with open sensitive hearts. But part of it involves sharing with people who are more interested in talking about their pain, and what they can get from you. This takes patience that can only come from reminders of God’s patience in our own lives.