"I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." Rev. 3:8 (NRSV)
Have you ever wished that someone would just take the time to sit and listen to you? Would it make any difference in your life? Well Matt Simmons, from Kentucky, shared how his visits to a man named Willy changed his life. Matt remembers the sound of gravel under his tires as he drove up the lane to visit his friend Willy. He can still see him waving from the porch - one arm extended and the other leaning on his cane. "What took you so long?" he'd ask.
Matt would reply, "I stopped to ask a deer for directions." This always made him laugh. Then they would sit and talk about nature, Willy's kids, and how the stroke had made him angry and less motivated. Matt mostly listened. Willy just needed to be heard. He had a long history of drug abuse, alcoholism, wrong turns, and pain that he carried deep inside.
Matt Visited Willy for about a year and watched him grow weaker over time. Willy wouldn't talk about God. "That isn't for me. I am good where I'm at," he'd say. One rainy afternoon, as Matt pulled into Willy's drive, he walked unsteadily toward me through the tall grass to welcome me. "I did it!" Willy exclaimed.
"Did what?" Matt asked.
"You know - went down to the ol' church and got right." Matt smiled and shook his head with an awesome feeling of fulfillment. They both chuckled and walked back to his porch. In the last months of Willy's life, the Holy Spirit had called him to walk through the church doors and forever be with God.
Sometimes it takes a while for the spirit to move. That is why we should never give up trying, or praying, or visiting; because we just never know what word, or prayer, might be the one to win someone over to Jesus. That is also the reason we should love and not judge. Judging someone never makes them get right with God, but loving them just might.
Prayer: Thank you, heavenly Father, for the opportunities to share Your love and grace with others. Amen!