Two nights ago, I fellowshipped with four brethren in Christ at Publix. First with the cashier, who was from Trinidad. She walked around the counter and gave me a hug. It was a beautiful exchange of loving encouragement. Then, as I’m walking out, another Publix worker starts saying, “Hallelujah, hallelujah,” and cheering me on (I presume he witnessed me and the cashier’s exchange and I was proclaiming how I hoped all came to know that Christ is Lord and they need Him to go to heaven.” So I asked him, “Are you a Christian,” he said, “Oh yes I am.” He was from India. So we fellowshipped briefly, and I continue outside. As I’m waiting for hubby, I begin singing, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Yet another, young Publix worker approaches, riding one of those automatic carts for the disabled, and we begin to fellowship. He was of Latin descent. Then lastly, he drives away, and a gentleman walks out of the Publix. I just felt compelled to bless him so I do, “God bless you.” He returns the blessing and continues to his car. Hubby comes out and we head to our car, only to discover the man I just blessed happened to park right next to us. After putting his groceries away, he comes around and says, “You know lots of times people bless, but it’s just like they say it to say it, but you sounded like you really meant it.” So then we fellowship. He’s a Christian Haitian. I was so encouraged by all of my family in Christ and so blessed by the instant love and encouragement pouring from our hearts and kindred spirits in Christ. It reminded me of heaven, when Revelation says there’s a multitude from every nation before the throne of God, praising Him.
To be honest, I was briefly discouraged about finances as I came to the cashier, but I decided to preach the gospel and that’s when I discovered the cashier was already saved and she actually was blessed by my boldness and needed that encouragement, telling me how she was down all day because her mother has Alzheimer disease. And I just left Publix so filled with joy. I was reminded by God that this life is not about being able to afford all the food you want and being free from money concerns. It’s about expanding the kingdom of God and loving your brothers and sisters in Christ, and seeking to encourage them. All of this is so temporary. I can die tomorrow and be free from all my financial concerns. I live for the afterlife, for heaven, my true home, where I’ll be eternally set. If I’m [American] poor all my life here, so be it. It’s but a moment in light of eternity.
So my dear beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus the Lord, I encourage you today to keep your mind on heavenly things, not on things of the earth. These temporary afflictions are nothing but fleeting shadows, and they even produce in us the perseverance we need in order to continue walking with Christ.
This world is getting darker, but by God’s grace we have the light of Christ. Though money may disappear on bills, family or friends may forsake us, and a job may be lost, God will never leave us. He is our ever-present help in time of need and in time of security. Christ loves us and suffered poverty, He had no home, He suffered persecution; the very ones He created hated Him, He suffered physical abuse and ultimately an agonizing death.
He’s been through everything you’re going through yet never sinned. He is thus able to empathize with you and strengthen you. And though it is contrary to the fleshly mind, the mindset of the world, we are blessed to suffer for our Lord. He chastens only those who are indeed His children, and He counts us worthy to share in His suffering that we too may experience the closeness and dependency He experienced on the Father and share in His holiness. Then we’ll get the true riches found in heaven, incorruptible and everlasting.
But our greatest reward is being able to see the Father and Christ face-to-face, the one who gave up everything for us. To have His precious, scarred hands wipe our tears away and to have Him be our loving and caring King eternal. We will never again suffer lack or feel pain. Our bodies will be glorious and immortal like Christ’s. O, the riches and the glory that await those of us who endure the trials and tribulations of this life and cling to our blessed Savior. We have nothing to fear, for Christ has given us everything we need and more. I love you family.
“Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:3-10 NKJV)