Thursday, March 20, 2008

The World Knows

A thought provoking story from John Wimber…

Years ago in New York City, I got into a taxi cab with an Iranian taxi driver, who could hardly speak English. I tried to explain to him where I wanted to go, and as he was pulling his car out of the parking place, he almost got hit by a van that on its side had a sign reading The Pentecostal Church. He got real upset and said, “That guy’s drunk.” I said, “No, he’s a Pentecostal. Drunk in the spirit, maybe, but not with wine.” He asked, “Do you know about church?” I said, “Well, I know a little bit about it; what do you know?” It was a long trip from one end of Manhattan to the other, and all the way down he told me one horror story after another that he’d heard about the church. He knew about the pastor that ran off with the choir master’s wife, the couple that had burned the church down and collected the insurance—every horrible thing you could imagine. We finally get to where we were going, I paid him, and as we’re standing there on the landing I gave him an extra-large tip. He got a suspicious look in his eyes—he’d been around, you know. I said, “Answer me this one question.” Now keep in mind, I’m planning on witnessing to him. “If there was a God and he had a church, what would it be like?” He sat there for awhile making up his mind to play or not. Finally he sighed and said, “Well, if there was a God and he had a church—they would care for the poor, heal the sick, and they wouldn’t charge you money to teach you the Book.” I turned around and it was like an explosion in my chest. “Oh, God.” I just cried, I couldn’t help it. I thought, “Oh Lord, they know. The world knows what it’s supposed to be like. The only ones that don’t know are the Church.”

When you joined the kingdom, you expected to be used of God. I’ve talked to thousands of people, and almost everybody has said, “When I signed up, I knew that caring for the poor was part of it—I just kind of got weaned off of it, because no one else was doing it.” Folks, I’m not saying, “Do some-thing heroic.” I’m not saying, “Take on some high standard, sell everything you have and go.” Now, if Jesus tells you that, that’s different. But I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, participate. Give some portion of what you have—time, energy, money, on a regular basis—to this purpose, to redeeming people, to caring for people. Share your heart and life with somebody that’s not easy to sit in the same car with. Are you hearing me? That’s where you’ll really see the kingdom of God.

(ht to ysmarko via jordon cooper, via think christian)

Any thoughts?



  1. This is what Jesus did - he loved, healed and hung out with the sinners.

    I've been trying to be more aware of the people God places around me in the everyday and how I can let the light that's in me come forth.

    Isn't John Wimber that said, "The meat is in the streets."

  2. Provoking article and thought. I guess we take our everyday life, give it to God, and walk. He has a way of drawing all men unto himself.

  3. These thoughts are heavy on my mind these days. Where is the impact of the church on our culture. Where is my impact?
    Help us Lord Jesus.

  4. Being Vineyard born and bred, this is all second nature to us. How sad that it has to be "taught" to the Christian community. I have always wondered why it costs so much to hear the Word of God. We just returned from Cambodia ministering in an orphanage for 2 weeks. When we minister to those less fortunate, we are the ones that get blessed and frees us up from the materialism that exists in this country and keeps our hearts from being hardened. (Good to hear from you Tom...we were in Cambodia when you called...I will get back to you when I figure out what time zone I am in..grin)

  5. I suppose that if we got somehow better at giving in general, we wouldn't be worried about whether or not we were giving to the poor.

    I realize that some part of giving to and serving the poor needs to be intentional, especially if this is not a people group we naturally encounter. I'm not negating that. But poor is also a spiritual condition. These people are everywhere.

    If our lifestyle is ministry in whatever context God puts us, and we learn to bloom where we're planted, then perhaps they don't need to be separate activities that get checked off a list, but rather an outflow of a life lived in and for Him.