I wanna look upon His face
When He comes to save the human race
Walk with Him hand-in-hand
All the way to the Promise Land
He’s King of kings and Lord of lords
He used to work with nails and boards
He walked on the water and crossed the desert sands
All for His people all across the land
He fed a multitude and healed a blind man’s eyes
Always told the truth, never any lies
He went up to Calvary
He died upon that wooden tree
He shed His blood for you and me
So we can all be free
Del and I ran into each other on Sunday afternoon at the start of this week. I saw a for sale sign in the yard next to the home where he lives here in Merced. I’m always curious about the homes that come up for sale near the church we attend, Central Presbyterian Church, because I love the ministry going on to the neighbors there and feel it would be fun to pray over possibly buying a single family or maybe a duplex, tri-plex, or quad to live among the neighbors and build into the community more face-to-face, day-to-day there. At this point, my wife and I are loving the apartment-dwellers’ life and see how God has really given apartment-dwellers an amazing life of community and fellowship where Jesus can be infectiously shared just through doing life-on-life neighboring in His name. Getting back to Del, though. He and I ended up talking for over an hour while my son napped in his car seat. Del has seen difficulties, but his faith is present and his eyes are on the prize of Jesus.
For years Del was a part of the Apostolic Tabernacle’s congregation and then was a part of Merced Baptist church. His poem even has had a prominent place at this Baptist church through the years. Del rides his trike around town and is known as one of our local Veterans by sight for many because of doing a lot of riding along the major roads. He lives a simple life and keeps an eye on his neighborhood, being 75 years old now. During our conversation, I learned of how he has been able to help his neighbors with simple things like saving up for a trip to see a dying relative in Mexico, or the time he saw a neighbor’s lights were left on and his alert kept their battery from dying. He also gave a paint scraper to the painter who was working on the house just recently sold next to him since the painter’s scraper wasn’t working so well. Del’s life is simple but beautiful, and he is aware of God keeping an eye on him and using him for good in the lives of those he meets. You could tell our encounter was real special for him as well, which lifted my heart.
Then we started talking about God’s amazing gift of His Word. I gave him a very large print NIV Bible that had been rolling around my car for a few months, which I used to use in the garage when I had one. It was easy and fun to give it to him. I’d also learned from a friend recently how to teach people to read the Bible in a very simple way, probably the way most regular readers of God’s Word read it anyway but don’t teach others to do the same maybe as much as we could. We started in John and just gave it a go for a few minutes. We read a paragraph and then talked about what stood out to us and thanked God for Jesus and His coming to us!
Del was noticeably edified and encouraged, and I was filled with all the more desire to have all the more of these encounters in the years to come. This is the work of ministry, friends, to minister to the faint and tired and lift their souls with our company, encouragement, help, and biblical edification in time. I was blessed to do several of those things in one encounter – not an every day experience but worth pursuing for sure. He now has my cell phone number and knows that our church is right around the corner. I offered to drop in and fellowship anytime, or that I could bring him to church with me if he’d like anytime since he misses the fellowship with other believers.
Enjoy your week, friends!