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"Oh, Thank Heaven for 7-11!"

I needed some cash to tip the dog groomer today and realized that I had no “real” money on me; so, I pulled into 7-11 to use their ATM. As I was entering the store, a woman was leaving and our eyes briefly met.

While in line, I ran into a black pastor that I knew from my involvement with his ministry to a “gang” street in our town and we visited for a short time. After using the “slot machine” I exited the store and proceeded towards my car. “Excuse me ma'am; can you spare a few dollars” was what she said as she stood on the side of the building clutching a plastic bag.

It was that same woman; the one I passed while entering the store a few minutes earlier. I smiled and walked up to her. I asked her to tell me why she needed the money. She explained that she had been laid off from her job and had lost her home. I asked her if she had children and she stated that she did but that she had family that were taking care of them. I asked her why “family” was not also taking care of her during this hardship. Although she had kept eye contact up to that point in the conversion; she broke her gaze and looked down as she said, “That’s a long story”.

I told her that she need not worry about sharing that story with me and that I intended to give her money. I told her that I was a follower of Jesus Christ and that she could be lying to me and use the money for drugs or alcohol and that was her choice, but that she could not hide the truth from the Lord. I asked her if she knew the Lord Jesus Christ. She said, “I was a church go-er for years when I lived in Folsom”. I said to her, “the church will not reconcile you to God, only Christ can do that. Do you understand who Christ is and what He accomplished on the cross?” She said, she understood that He came to die for our sins and that if we turn to Him for forgiveness and trust Him we will be saved. I asked her if she had turned to Him. She said, “No, I have not”.

At that point, she looked intently into my eyes and here was what came out of my mouth,

“If your soul is not reconciled to God it matters not how much money I or anyone gives to you. Someone could give you $100,000 dollars and that might solve your temporal problems for a while, but your soul will still be lost and there will be no eternal hope for your soul. If on the other hand, God has brought the suffering and hardships, that you are facing now, into your life, so that you will realize your need for Him; and if through your pain and suffering you should turn to Him, and trust in Christ’s sacrifice as the full payment for your sins; bow down to Him and give your life to Him, even if you find yourself having 2 more years of hardship and suffering, you will know that you have been reconciled to God through Christ and you will know that you can look forward to an eternity of joy (with no more suffering) once you leave this earth. I hope you think about your soul and you will think about Christ tonight. I would rather see you homeless for 2 more years and reconciled to God, than living comfortably in a nice home never knowing the Lord.”

She said to me “What you are saying is that without Christ there is no hope for my soul even if my situation were to improve”. “Yes, yes” I said.

She placed her hand on my arm; looked into my eyes; and said, with tears flowing down her face, “Thank you for caring enough about me to stop and tell me this; I love you”. I gave her a hug and said, “I love you too” as I handed her some money. I got into my car and started backing out of the parking lot. As I looked up, she was looking at me smiling and waving. I smiled, waved back and silently said a prayer for her as I drove off.

I’m so glad I stopped at 7-11 today!

Comments

Mel said…
I love, love, love this story! I shared it with my Bible study at work, and with my husband (who cried.) This is the power of the Gospel in practical every day lived-out action. Praise His Holy Name!

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