ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–Greatness is a term we don’t always grasp. Jesus said the greatest people in the kingdom of heaven humble themselves like a little child.
A group of young adults gathered at the doorway of a rustic gas station and diner. They were outside smoking and taking a break from their work. While I was pumping my gas, God put it on my heart to talk to them.
After asking for my receipt from the clerk, I stepped over to where the young adults were standing. I introduced myself and told them I was preaching at a local church. They seemed somewhat interested, especially when I asked if I could get their opinion about something spiritual.
I enjoyed listening to their answers to the question, “What does God require for a person to go to heaven?”
One blonde, sporting a small diamond stud in her nose, said being good and honest were requirements. Another replied, “I don’t really know, but I want to go to heaven.”
That’s when Steve spoke up. “Mister, can I answer your question? I know the answer.”
“Sure,” I said. “What do you think?”
“The Bible says you have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. You have to ask forgiveness for your sins and trust Him to be your Savior,” he said.
“Steve, have you believed and trusted in Jesus alone like you said?” I asked.
“Yes sir, I certainly have,” he said.
The others had to get back to work, but before they left I gave them a Gospel tract. Unfortunately, no one committed his or her life to the Lord, but a seed was planted.
Only Steve and I were left standing at the doorway. As we talked a little more, I got the rest of the story.
Steve and I had something in common. Both of us lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. The only difference was he stayed during the storm. I evacuated.
His story was sad. He had been living in this small town since the hurricane destroyed his home. It was quiet and less violent than our big urban city where we both once lived.
Steve grew up in the violence of the Lower Ninth Ward. He said he heard a loud “boom” when the levee broke. Then the water came rushing down the street. He and his family went into their attic. His mother helped everyone else get in, especially Steve. However, she did not have the strength to raise herself through the hatch. She drowned.
I failed to mention one other thing about Steve. Although he is in his 20s, he has the mental capacity and the speech of a 5-year-old. His speech is slow. He stumbles over words and he stutters. To top it off, he suffers with epilepsy.
The woman at the drugstore knew Steve. She assured me of his legitimate need for the medicine. Steve told me sometimes people would see his bag of medicine and take it from him.
I purchased the medication and drove him home. We didn’t want anyone getting this bag of medicine.
For the few minutes I had left with Steve, I wanted to encourage him. The problem was he kept encouraging me. It was a great few minutes.
Jesus said unless people welcome the kingdom of heaven like a little child, they will not be allowed to enter (Mark 10:15).
Steve’s life reminds me of the humble spirit of a little child. Even in the face of great difficulties, he loves the Lord. There is no doubt in his mind of God’s love for him.
A faith like Steve’s is certainly great in God’s eyes.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.