A coat against the cold
Jakkie writes from Namibia:
The previous Crossroad message reminded me of a day shortly after I opened my shop. It was a Tuesday, mid-way through the month, sales had been pathetic and I was feeling very low. Then I got a call from a guy and immediately realized that he wanted something from me. Although I felt that ‘giving’ was the last thing I wanted to or could do (because I was walking down Doubtful Street at the time), I listened politely, but rather unwillingly.
He then said that he didn’t want any money, but that a young lay preacher wanted to tackle Namibia’s southern region to win souls for our God. It was very cold. Could I give the young man something warm to wear?
I told the caller to send the young man to me. I was expecting a consignment second-hand Swedish Army coats from Windhoek and the young man could have one of those.
The next day, Wednesday, we still haven’t had any sales by 10:00 and were feeling quite discouraged when a young man came into the store, kind of asking for the coat that was promised to him. It was probably no more than two minutes from the time he came into the store until he left again with his coat and if you had asked me to describe him a moment later, I couldn’t do it.
I never heard from the caller or the young man again.
4We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians.
The story clearly shows that verse 4 is a good description of Jakkie.
Stories like these reveal the Bible in everyday language. If you believe in Christ, there will be a reaction. Faith always results in actions. And the reverse is probably true too: If there are no actions, a big question mark can be put next to the faith. Can faith exist without actions? I don’t think so.
When you believe in Jesus, you realize what an enormous gift He gave us. The fact that we’re no longer being punished for our sin fills my being with gratitude. And that gratitude overflows and looks for places to help and bless others.
However, Jakkie’s e-mail didn’t stop there. Filled with excitement he told me what had happened after that:
And then an amazing thing happened: Right after the young man had left there was an influx of clients into the shop like we’ve never seen before – we really had to run around serving everybody.
Calculating the day’s income that evening, I found that it was the highest turnover ever, apart form 24 December the year before. Just imagine: FOUR pool tables on one day, by different clients, compared to an average of one per month!
Then I realized: Sometimes the Lord tests us and when He sees there is love in your heart and that you obey his voice even if you do not realize that it is Him speaking to you, He rewards us, even though we do not deserve it. And the young man whose face I couldn’t even remember for a millisecond in time – maybe he was an angel?
No, we don’t always receive such a “reward” when we do worthy deeds, because everything comes from grace. But out of gratitude we cannot do anything but help others in need. If we are doubly blessed thereafter, that simply is a bonus.
I hope that the people around us also say of us: 4We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians.
What does your faith look like?
What does your gratitude look like?
What do your actions look like?
Wow, Father. We so easily get blasé about life and forget to transform our gratitude into actions. Please help me to see those in need and to change it – out of gratitude and not because I have to. Amen