man in the parking lot

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The man clearly needed help. There was no doubt in anyone’s minds about that fact.   He had alcohol on his breath, old dirt under his nails and eyes that told a story of a beaten life. They gathered around him in the parking lot where they found him standing after church.

The ten church members listened as his needs grew larger with each passing word from his mouth. Soon, it was time to decide how to help; but how would they go about meeting so many needs in this one life?   They left the man with Mrs. Hospitality and moved to the side to discuss the situation.

Mercy was holding back tears, knowing that something had to be done and it had to be done now. He was the first to speak, urging each one to love and support this man. Prophecy quoted scripture, saying that the man evidently was dealing with sinful strong holds that needed to be addressed. Teacher agreed, but said it would take time to teach the man his way out of this grave situation. It was then that Evangelism said, “Hold on now…it is his soul I am worried about. Scripture will not mean a thing to him unless he is converted.” Under her breath, Discernment mentioned that she was beginning to feel a spirit of disunity within the group.

Gift Giving pulled out her billfold and said, “Do what you need to do. I have to move on so here is some money. And if you need more, call me.” She handed the money to Service who had no idea what all the fuss was about. He thought, “Let’s just do what we need to do…get him a shower, cloth his body with clean clothes and fill up his car with gas so he can be on his way.”

By this time, Administration was outlining the steps they would need to take to assure all needs would be met and Exhortation tried to encourage each of the ten to press on in this good work. Faith took a step back proclaiming that whatever was done, God would see it to the end so she left saying she would pray for them as they made a decision.

By now the eight remaining were growing weary with each other’s ideas. Mercy grew impatient. Service was just waiting to be told what to do and anxious to do it. Teacher, Evangelism and Prophecy were still discussing doctrine, while Exhortation grew weary of trying to spur them on to God’s work and decided to leave to enjoy the beautiful day God had made for golf.

It was about this time that an old friend of the man’s drove by and saw him standing there in the parking lot. Stopping, he called out from the car window, “Hey Man, you need a ride or something? Get in and come with me.” By the time the seven people saw that he was gone, the man was already at the local bar…drinking to find peace, talking with friends who understood, and feeling loved.

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About 2b14u

I'm just a person. A person who has learned a lot of truth in the darkest days of life. The truth that glimmered, flashed and at times broke through like a day's dawn all came from the hands of a mighty God. His light makes the darkness worth it. To know my background, visit my posts titled "Jack-in-the-Box" and "Jack's Still Jumping"- Feb. 2012.
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6 Responses to man in the parking lot

  1. So what is the answer? How can a group of Christians “meet so many needs in this one life?”

    I’ve often contemplated Jesus’ approach to the needs around Him. He didn’t play Robin Hood. He didn’t hand out cash or new homes or even food to the needy, except in the instances when a crowd was gathered His preaching and there was no food to be had. He didn’t organize charities or instruct His followers to start any.

    My observation is that there are a lot of folks out there who have great needs, but they aren’t interested in a change of lifestyle. They don’t want a sermon — just enough cash to get them through this crisis. There’s a time and place for that if you feel it really will bring long-term relief. Some folks don’t want to come in out of the rain, just jump from mud puddle to mud puddle; I’m not sure we have to fund that.

    We don’t have the ability to heal the sick as Jesus did, but we don’t read that He delivered unwilling people from their vices. He didn’t go down the line slapping people and saying “be healed.” The healings recorded in the Bible came about mainly when people deliberately sought Him out for that purpose and they seem to have been very personal touches.

    He did hand out a lot of compassion and wisdom, but no pity. Sometimes His words were very stern; He had no ears for phoneys and excuses, religious or non-religious. He had one answer for the troubles of mankind and that was an invitation to “Come to the Father.” I’m afraid we get so wrapped up in “What should we be doing for these people” that we miss His approach — the only one that can bring true deliverance.

    In the scenario above I’d encourage Evangelist do his thing first, provided he’s working in tandem with compassion. But if the fellow starts attending church and “the nice members” won’t sit beside him, forget it.

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    • 2b14u says:

      The story was not written to examine the man, but the gifts that were at work in conflict with each other. When gifts are in conflict, nothing gets done. Each gift has strengths that are to be used to further the kingdom of God. However, each gift has weaknesses too. A Giver always looks to see how they can give to help a ministry, person, church, etc. But a Giver’s weakness comes when the gift become a matter of pride or when the donation becomes a way to be heard or seen. The gift of Evangelism is the gift of the ability to share the gospel with a passion that is above most Christians. The weakness of an Evangelist is that they tend to share the gospel and the person is saved, but the Evangelist has a tendency to not follow up with discipleship. This is why we need to know our gifts and learn about our gifts. If I know my strengths, I know 80% of my ministry. If I know the weaknesses associated with my gift, I can watch out for that manifesting itself in my life and take care of it before it becomes an entrenched problem. This does not mean that a giver is never to evangelize. Or that a teacher is never called upon to give. We are called to do all, but we are also called to exercise the gifts that the Spirit placed in us at salvation. These will be the areas of our lives where we find the most joy – using the gifts to bring glory to God and furthering His Kingdom through the power of the Spirit’s work. The man in the parking lot was only a representative of all mankind – it could have as easily been a person seeking out truth, hoping someone would notice him in the church parking lot or pew.

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      • 2b14u says:

        How? Love each person you come in contact with first by listening and being guided by the Spirit as to what to do to help them. The man in the story may not even need new clothes…unless the Spirit says “clothe him.”

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  2. That sounds about how it goes quite often…. Things made so complicated when really the simplest solution is the right one…. listen, ask how they need help and then just do it…. time for the other stuff later if the opportunity presents itself… Diane

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