Sample devotional from
Faith Builders from Around the World
Collected and Edited by Beverly Caruso
Our outreach team had just finished performing a drama at the coffee house in downtown Brussels, when a girl on staff asked if I would witness to the young man in the corner. He obviously lived on the streets. I was happy to have the opportunity to share with him–until I got close enough to smell the foul air that hung about him.
I watched in disbelief as he lowered his face to the cup and lapped up his tea. Just like an animal, I thought.
It didn’t surprise me to learn that he had grown up on the streets as an orphan and only recently was released from jail. I was surprised, however, when he steered the conversation toward the topic of Christianity then became increasingly antagonistic with his questions.
I found myself wanting to end the conversation because he seemed to be intentionally trying to provoke me. I was fully conscious of the foul odor emanating from the man when I prayed, “Lord, I really want to love the man, but I don’t have it within me. Please help me to communicate Your love to him.”
Suddenly, without warning His eyes got watery. I stared at him in silence, wondering where all the belligerence had gone. The tears became sobs. Finally, slowly, he said, “I want to pray with you to become a Christian.”
After the prayer he turned to hug me. I held my breath as he latched onto me; I tried to hide my revulsion.
I knew I should hug him back; that only with God’s strength could I demonstrate acceptance, much less love. He was so unlovable.
“Help me, Lord, I prayed.” He did.
After that prayer I had difficultly returning his hug because of his foul odor. By God’s strength I was enabled to share God’s love with him.
Now I believed God wanted me to show the man our Father’s love in a practical way. But how? Then I noticed again the tattered sweater he was wearing. My wardrobe had to last through the end of our outreach, but I decided to give him the sweater I was wearing. It was my favorite.
I pulled the sweater over my head, carefully folded it like new and presented it as a gift. “I’m giving this to you in the name of Jesus. I want you to know that God loves you and so do I.”
His face beamed as he took off his sweater, folded it and presented it to me as a gift. He put my sweater on and motioned for me to put his on. I thanked him but poliltely held his smelly, holey sweater on my lap. Another gesture indicated I should put on his. After another silent request for God to grant me love for this man, I put on the sweater.
Nothing needed to be said when we returned to the main room of the coffee bar. Our team had been together every day for many weeks; we all knew every item of one anothers’ clothing. One glance our way and our new brother was soon wrapped in arms of love, welcoming him into God’s big family.
As I walked home that night I felt the cold wind slip through the holes of my new, smelly sweater. I was warmed, though, by a new awareness: Whatever the sacrifice, nothing can compare with the joy of serving God. In some far-out way, giving him my sweater sealed this man’s place in God’s family. It was like God was symbolically putting His robe of righteousness on him.
David Caruso, an American, works for Christ within the film industry in Hollywood, California.
Excerpted from Faith Builders from Around the World, YWAM Publishing.
© Beverly Caruso, senior editor