Our congregation is learning how to be prepared for times when the Lord puts someone in our path for us to minister to Along the Way.
This is My Along The Way story and it isn’t pretty. Coming out of the church I attended in downtown Victoria, B.C. I had to walk around a man laying on the steps of the church. He was clean but unshaven. I got close enough to make sure he was alive and noticed the bottle in his pocket. He was ‘dead’ drunk. So I went back into the church and informed the secretary.
Then I walked around him again and continued on my way. At the next corner I looked back. He was still there. I walked another block and then another and he was still there. An embarrassing thought went through my mind. What kind of a testimony is that, to have someone lying on our church steps and no one helping him? What would people think?
It was like the story of the Good Samaritan being told in real time. A steady stream of people passed him, one or two paused, but then walked on. I had always considered myself to be a good Samaritan, but today I was the Levite. I had looked and passed by too. What’s the difference if he was attacked or addicted?
Guilt ridden I returned to him, praying as I went. By the time I reached him, his eyes were open. I spoke to him and he slowly sat up. He was polite but then obviously disappointed as the police arrived. As he was being led to the police cruiser he looked me in the eye and said, “I love you”. Startled, I replied, “I love you too.” Then he was gone.
As I walked away I prayed that the Lord would send someone to demonstrate the love and power of Jesus Christ to him. That’s when the Lord said to me, “I did, I sent you!” And that’s when I began to cry.
I saw the irony in the fact that this man had passed out on the steps of one place where supernatural, life-changing help is supposed to be available. “I failed you, Lord, and I am so sorry.”
That Along the Way encounter changed my life. The Lord taught me to see people with His eyes and to never allow the sin of silence to reign in my life again. I stay alert now, watching for Along the Way Moments.