Two summers ago on a very hot day while on my way to our Saturday outreach on Franklin Avenue, I witnessed a large number of intoxicated people holding signs and harassing motorists as they passed by.  I was struck with the following (negative) thought; “All this neighborhood does is take, take, take and it gives nothing back.” Obviously, I was in a less-then gracious mood but after some prayer and repentance the Holy Spirit moved me to a better state of mind. I settled in and began to meet with our friends from the neighborhood and as I handed out food, clothing, prayer and listened to individuals who usually don’t get listened to, the peace of the Lord settled on us all that very hot day.

At one point in the afternoon a man who was living on the street ask me if I was the pastor here and I told him yes I was. He then stretched out his hand to me and handed me a very dirty crumbled up $5.00 bill and said “this is for your work.” I told him I really appreciated the offer but he should keep the money to which he replied, “What you’re doing here is very kind and important and I want you to take the money to help out.”  I thanked him and he continued down the street and I went on ministering to those around me. On my way home later that evening as I was talking to the Lord (asking for forgiveness for my sour attitude earlier in the day), I thought again about my comment concerning the neighborhood just taking and taking and at that moment the Lord brought to my memory that man from earlier in the afternoon and the money he gave and I thought to myself that I had never seen him before and Hebrews 11: 1-2 flashed in my mind : Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

I lost it in the car that night and thanked the Lord for his kindness, loving patience and his closeness.

In My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers points out, the real kingdom work is done in the valleys and not on the mountain-tops; in the day to day heat and toil where nobody sees and to this I’d like to add- some of His most pleasant surprises also come to us in the day to day valleys of our ministries.


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One comment

  1. Scott Lindberg

    Looking to get in contact with Pastor Tom Stover. This is Scott Lindberg please reach out to me via e mail with a phone number I can contact you with. Would love to get caught up with you if possible. Love you brother, and keep up Gods work, you are a very blessed man!

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