Saturday, February 26, 2011judging... who's judging???
Just like last week, the weather seemed pretty friendly when Pastor Tim and I first went downtown for our customary night of evangelism, but things got downright nasty about an hour into our venture. A frigid north wind blew through town, bringing the temperature down to -17 Celsius. We nonetheless preached the Gospel to hundreds of souls walking the streets of the marketplace; some shopping, most going to bars and pubs.
When we first got to our usual preaching spot, Pastor Tim and I watched a street beggar panhandling for spare change. He claimed to need money to buy himself a warm meal; that was the story he told everyone that walked by him (drove me crazy to see him dupe some of the people). Moments later, a young lady brought the panhandler a warm meal from one of the market's restaurants; she walked away quickly thinking she had done a real good deed. She hadn't turned the corner and the panhandler took the food, walked across the street, got rid of the meal, and went back to his begging, using the same routine. We just shook our heads and stood amazed at the wickedness.
During my first half hour of preaching, a man named Gilles and his wife Denise, a French couple came by to speak to me. Gilles professed to be a believer, but he admitted he wasn't attending any local assemblies (and hadn't been for some time). He claimed that all the churches he had been to "judged others too much". He shared with me some of his theological/doctrinal views and it became quite clear that Gilles was a theological/doctrinal mess; no doubt, not having a church family to help him grow in the faith hurt his spiritual maturity. I tried to share some sound words with him, but I felt like I wasn't making much head way. I gave Gilles a tract and invited him to come to our Lord's Day meetings (I figured that would help him). He took the literature, thanked me and went on his way.
Just a couple of minutes later, Gilles drove by in his car and stopped in front of me. He rolled down his window and asked me what time we held our Lord's Day meetings at. I gave him the information and he took off. Please pray that Gilles and Denise will make it to church service this Lord's Day, that the may be blessed with some Christian fellowship and sound teaching.
About an hour later, as I was offering Bible tracts to anyone who walked by me, a young man approached me to thank me for my service. He said he really appreciated what I was doing for the cause of Christ and really wanted to encourage me to continue. Kind words are few and far between on the streets of the market for us preachers, so I have to tell you that this young man's encouragement was truly refreshing. I was really surprised to learn that this dear soul was actually attending a local Anglican church, and not a more fundamental church. I will pray that the Lord will get him out of that compromising church and move him into a more faithful house of worship.
The last one-on-one conversation I had was far less sweet. Another panhandler, this one had a guitar to attract donations, came by and ordered me to leave so that he could take my spot and make money. After sizing him up, I chose to stay put. He got really annoyed at me and asked me why I was being "a jerk" and wasn't letting him beg on my "prime real estate". I replied that I wasn't moving because he hadn't asked kindly. The man then said:
"You know what? You're right, man. I'm sorry, I've had a bad day. Could you please go hand out your literature somewhere else? I would like to make money right here."
I knew that it took a lot for the man to humble himself like that, so I moved a few yards away and let him have my spot. He thanked me as I moved away. I thought that my kindness would get me some favour in the man's eye, but there is an old French Canadian expression that sums up what actually happened: "Nourrit un cochon, il reviendra enmerder ton perron" (translation: feed a pig, and he will come back and poop on your porch). Not even two minutes after surrendering my spot (which gave me cover from the frigid wind), the man began to berate me with all manner of obscenity, claiming that I was a judgmental hypocrite. I was only able to silence him for a couple of seconds by asking him if he was judging me (the look on his face was priceless). The Lord have mercy on him.
That's all I have for tonight, dear readers. I will be preaching the evening service this Lord's Day, so I covet your prayers, dear saints.
God bless you all!
Labels: Friday evangelism