After the morning service on Sunday, I walked over to see what everyone was starring at through the window of the sanctuary. It was 4 men, dressed in black, trying to break into the car of one of our church members. So, how did I see the grace of the gospel in this?
Because those 4 men dressed in black coats were all men of our church, most of who are deacons now, breaking into the car of a young mother with 2 small kids–husband out of town–who had locked her keys in the car. Each of these 4 men had a past history of “criminal like activity” like this, before they were converted to Christ. One man I have discipled for over 10 years. Another was converted through 12 months of meeting weekly with him over coffee. Each of these 4 men had been so transformed by the gospel, that they put all their lunch plans on hold to stand in the cold and use their “previous skills” to serve a sister in Christ in need. The car was successfully broken into and I even watched one of these men help carry the kids of this young mother to the car and be one of the last ones out of the church that day.
As others watching joked about these men’s ”past experience” in this area, I found my heart so grateful for how powerful the gospel is to give us new minds, hearts, desires, and motives, yet still redeem gifts and abilities that were once used to serve ourselves and the enemy, now to serve Christ and his church for his glory. Even…if it is the ability to break into a car.
Pastors, every single one of us have examples like this in our churches. If you cannot think of one, you aren’t thinking hard enough, your not looking for them, or your frustrations at the church have blinded you to the evidences of grace that exist in every local church where the gospel is preached and gospel transformation is inevitably present. Look for them. Acknowledge them to your congregation. Then, give thanks that the Lord is indeed at work in your people through your ministry!