When we moved to southern Brazil, my husband met a man from Uruguay who claimed to be a pastor and fellow missionary. He expressed a desire to work in our city and help reach people for Christ, so Mark invited him to go soul winning with him one day.
Now, my husband will knock on any door, clap at any gate (that’s how its done in Brazil), and visit anyone at anytime. He is very friendly and loves to tell people about Jesus. Well, on this day as he visited with this fellow “missionary” they came upon a house where someone wanted to hear more about what Mark had to say concerning the Bible. Mark spent quite a while visiting with the family and discussing the Truth before leaving and heading down another street. The older gentleman from Uruguay waited until they were out of earshot of the house and tapped my husband on the arm and said, “Pastor Mark, don’t waste your time with them.” His bottom lip curled up and he shook his head and said, “It isn’t productive, they are ‘pepinos’.”
Pepinos is our word for cucumber.
What he was saying was, they were a dime a dozen and not worth wasting time on trying to reach.
I think my husband knew right then and there that they had two separate ministry philosophies!
Aren’t you glad Jesus came to save ALL of us and not just those He thought were worth it?
I was reading in John 4 about Jesus going through Samaria and I noticed something after He spoke to the woman at the well. She listened to Him, ran to the city and told the men there about what He had said. The men were so eager to hear more that they came to where Jesus was.
That’s when Jesus did something really wonderful!
“So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word;” John 4:40-41
He spent two days with them and ministered in such a way that “many more” believed. The men declared that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. That’s amazing!
Let’s look at what was going on here:
- Jesus had plans. (He was on His way to Galilee) vs. 3
- Jesus had a purpose. (He wanted to reach people) vs. 14
- Jesus showed NO prejudice. (He didn’t look at race, station or creed) vs. 9-10, vs. 16-18.
- Jesus proclaimed Who He was. (He didn’t hide Who He is) vs. 26
- Jesus paused. (He spent a couple of days visiting them) vs. 40
When is the last time you did more than just make a scheduled visit?
We are all busy.
We are all scheduled to the max.
But when is the last time you hit the pause button for someone that others have passed by because they wouldn’t “benefit” the church or would probably just ask for a handout?
Since when have we become such a haughty, snooty crowd that we can’t take time for others?
Oh, sure, we have our designated time when we go bus calling, soul winning, visiting, but people’s lives usually aren’t on our schedule.
The heroine addict doesn’t fit his next fix in with when you might deem it okay to check on him.
The prostitute doesn’t walk her route in the daylight hours when you are checking off your activity report for soulwinning. No, she is probably beside you at the drug store buying bandaids to cover a wound while you bump her with your cart trying to get your cookies for Sunday School class.
We treat others all around us like “pepinos” until they fit into our schedule or we can take a nice instagram shot with them to show we “care”.
And hell enlarges itself. But go ahead and pat yourself on the back for the visit you made last month.
We are so backward and so far removed from the way that Christ ministered while he was here on this earth.
Christ took time for people.
“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.” Matthew 20:13-15
As I dwelled on Christ’s care for others in the Scripture, I felt ashamed of myself. Oh that I could care the way He does. Oh that I would shine His light through my actions of helping others.
Our Christian walk is taught to us by Grace, and we would do well to minister the same to others who haven’t experienced it yet.
Pause today when you are out and about. See people like the souls they are. Be kind. Be generous with your smile and love. It may be that one of them will go back and tell their whole family about Christ because you took time enough to proclaim Christ, dispell prejudice and pause just for them.
By the way, the man I mentioned in the beginning of this post ended up leaving his family and moving away from Brazil. Maybe someone will see him as more than a “pepino” and restore him to the faith one day. Bad advice is a good teacher sometimes, isn’t it?
Until Next Time, Lord willing,
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!
Today’s reading: Genesis 38-39 / I Samuel 24 / Psalm 22 / Matthew 23