Unashamed…that’s the word that has powerfully resonated with me this week. Typically, I’m a faithful church-goer, not because I like to check-the-box and feel good about myself through regular attendance, but rather because I cherish God’s people and the value they add to my life through sound teaching and accountability.
I didn’t go to church this Sunday. I know the need for a Christian believer to settle into a church home, but I also recognize the liberties we’ve been given through the blood of Christ. Oftentimes, it’s when I’m outside the four walls of the church building and in the most random spots that God speaks most boldly to me. This Sunday was no different.
My husband has his own HVAC company and someone is always needing his services. Sunday I went with him as he ran a service call to work on someone’s heater and sat in the truck while he made his repairs. It wasn’t an affluent neighborhood and one I’ve heard several describe as sketchy. The houses are close together, yards generally unkept and littered with unexpected objects.
I noticed a man charge from a neighboring house. I couldn’t see his face, but he walked with fervor as if he were angry. I observed…had nothing else to do while I waited. He had something in his hand and walked rapidly out to the street light near the curb. Out of the box he took a piece of chalk and reached up as high as he could…on his tippy toes. He began to write. It was a concrete light pole with four flat distinct sides, so on each side he reached up high and wrote something until he reached the ground.
I wondered what the heck he was writing. In all of my negative-Nancy perceptions, I assumed he was writing something obscene or hateful. That was my judgmental stereotype of him based on the way he was dressed and from the looks of his yard. After all, I’ve heard it said that cleanliness is next to Godliness, right (said jokingly)? And his yard wasn’t that clean so I already had him pegged a certain way.
But when he got around to the final side of the pole facing me, I was ashamed and shocked with what I read. “Thank you Jesus.” And as he finished writing his message with urgency, he tucked his chalk back into the box, took off his coat, lit a cigarette, and sat in the nearby swing gazing off into distance.
About that time my husband emerged from the house and we were on our way. We had to drive into the cove where this man was to turn around, and I realized he had different messages on each side. The only other side I could read said, “Precious Jesus.”
Wow. What a powerful moment for me. What was his story? What had just happened to cause this grown man to fervently write this message to all who could see with such purpose? Had he just encountered the Savior and sat there in relief as all of his guilt was washed away?
I don’t know his story, but I know mine. And it left me wondering how many days I have complacently walked through this life not acknowledging how precious Jesus really is. How urgent the gospel message is. That one day a loving, but righteous, God will return and take His people home while those who have never accepted Christ and followed Him will be eternally sent to a place called Hell. That is the gospel in its simplest form. Jesus died for us. He loves us. We hear that part often, but the other part of the gospel message that seems to be muted is that those who die apart from Christ will go to Hell and have no second chance for redemption. Urgency. Yes, the gospel message is urgent. And Jesus is totally precious! He is the key and the only way!
I thank this man for reminding me that this week. It has been such a powerful moment that I’ve had tears just retelling the story. It’s the very thing I want others to feel as they encounter my Savior through the Power Plant. The Power Plant guest house is only a platform, a place, for God to meet women boldly right where they’re at. To see how precious He really is. It doesn’t matter if they’re churched, affluent, or purple. Hear me…there’s nothing particularly special about The Power Plant apart from Jesus…it’s Jesus who is precious, and without Him all of this is for nothing.
Join me in praying for bold encounters through this ministry and for each guest who stays at The Power Plant (and for completion of the house). May we all pause and ponder the preciousness of our salvation each day and act boldly and unashamedly with gratitude. The time is at hand, and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.