Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. (NIV)
Have you ever considered people to be an endangered species — like the snapping turtle? The elderly man whom I interviewed about his hobby of rescuing turtles had once been "endangered" himself. As a young adult, he became lured by his peers into a habit of drinking. Eventually, alcoholism threatened to destroy his life. He got so desperate that he cried out to God to rescue him. He saw God as his only hope — thanks to the early influence of his Christian mother and church background.
He shared with me, through tears, how God had mercifully rescued him and had set him totally free from his addiction to alcohol. Ever since then, he claims, God's love has never ceased to be new and fresh every day. And that's why he is so full of exuberant joy. It's obvious that he is a Christian who dearly loves the Lord.
This man has reasons to be sad. He lives alone. Few people come by anymore. They are busy in their own lives, he notes. But God is his companion, and that is why he is content. He shared with me how he often finds himself on his knees, crying out in praise and thanksgiving for God's goodness toward him. In our conversation, he said, "Why does God keep on being so good to me? I don't understand it! But I know he'll never forsake me now. Never!"
Frequently he goes downtown and visits the coffee shop. There, he shares his joy in the Lord. People listen. They like him because they see so much love in him.
He doesn't just help turtles; he helps people, too. In spite of his meager income, he freely gives as he sees the need. He said, "When I go to the bank, I see that God always keeps my account balanced. I can't out-give God."
He can see God's goodness on every turtle-rescuing mission — even if he doesn't spot any turtles. He saw a bluebird one day instead. That's a rare sighting around here!
I got thinking: In my mission to find a story for the paper, I myself had spotted a "bluebird". Discovering such a beautiful believer is indeed a rare sighting.
This is the kind of Christian that you and I do well to see — to remind us what real faith looks like. That man inspired me: I want to have faith and joy like him. He told me that I had encouraged him by being interested in his testimony. In other words, I had honoured him. So he even taught me more about honouring one another. What a discovery he was!
Prayer: Lord, bless us with the presence of those who reflect vibrant and mature faith. May we be eager to honour them by listening to their faith stories. In turn, may we find ourselves encouraged to persevere and grow in faith. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross" (Lyrics)