the hungry.

Once upon a time there lived a man who owed his King a great amount of money. He was brought to court but when the King was about to send him to prison, the man fell on his face and begged for mercy. The King, touched, allowed him to go free.

The man left the courtroom and happened upon a gentleman who owed him a very small amount of money. He demanded payment and the gentleman fell on his face and begged mercy but the man refused. The gentleman was sent to prison and when word reached the King’s ears, the man was brought before him again.

“I offered you mercy but because you have not also given mercy, what you have will be taken away…”

taken from Matthew 18:21-35

“Wish he’d pay,” I mumbled to my husband, “I know it wouldn’t fix everything but it would sure help.”

My dear husband, who graciously forgives my often selfish greediness, touched my arm and said, “I’ve been where he is. As a Christian, I will not pressure him or fight for the money. In the end, it is all God’s and who am I to dictate how God distributes His resources?

So it was that my husband invited the man to our house, served him coffee, told him that we wanted to help in any way we could, went through lists of places to look for work, and offered encouragement, hope.

He told the man of the Living Water, right there at my kitchen table, then backed up his words of grace with an offer of grace. 

I would have been the man who required payment from the broken and my husband, filled with the Holy Spirit and love, was the grace-giver, the Jesus-in-flesh.

And after the grace, after the hope, after the love-in-skin offered— the story came. Everyone has a story and the man, trusting grace, opened himself and offered his. It came out in razor sharp pieces. Memories of fears and hurts and horrendous tastes of evil. Of a six-year-old boy and a murdered mother and unanswered questions. The type of pain that leaves one gasping for breath and desperate for anything to heal. The type that can only be healed with an intimate knowledge of the cross of Jesus Christ. 

I took a deep, shuddering breath, whispering thankfulness to a God who has blessed me with a husband who has chosen to surrender himself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

I once promised myself that I would never miss the crying child for the angry man— but without the grace and leading of the Holy Spirit, I would have missed the hungry boy for the empty checkbook. 

Every single person you meet has a story. Do you know it? Are you “one of those who have turned away in disgust”? Are you withholding mercy {for the sake of such horrendous things as your checkbookor are you living Jesus-in-flesh?

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