In particular, I find myself convicted this day by one specific illustration he shares. I want to post it here today. The piece is attributed to Melvin Newland.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is about the old shoe cobbler who dreamed one Christmas Eve that Jesus would come to visit him the next day. The dream was so real that he was convinced it would come true.
So the next morning he got up and went out and cut green boughs and decorated his little cobbler shop and got all ready for Jesus to come and visit. He was so sure that Jesus was going to come that he just sat down and waited for Him.
The hours passed and Jesus didn’t come. But an old man came. He came inside for a moment to get warm out of the winter cold. As the cobbler talked with him he noticed the holes in the old man’s shoes, so he reached up on the shelf and got him a new pair of shoes. He made sure they fit and that his socks were dry and sent him on his way.
Still he waited. But Jesus didn’t come. An old woman came. A woman who hadn’t had a decent meal in two days. They sat and visited for a while, and then he prepared some food for her to eat. He gave her a nourishing meal and sent her on her way.
Then he sat down again to wait for Jesus. But Jesus still didn’t come.
Then he heard a little boy crying out in front of his shop. He went out and talked with the boy, and discovered that the boy had been separated from his parents and didn’t know how to get home. So he put on his coat, took the boy by the hand and led him home.
When he came back to his little shoe shop it was almost dark and the streets were emptied of people. And then in a moment of despair he lifted his voice to heaven and said, “Oh Lord Jesus, why didn’t you come?”
And then in a moment of silence he seemed to hear a voice saying, “Oh shoe cobbler, lift up your heart. I kept my word. Three times I knocked at your friendly door. Three times my shadow fell across your floor. I was the man with the bruised feet. I was the woman you gave to eat. I was the boy on the homeless street.”
Jesus had come. The cobbler just didn’t realize it.
I trust this speaks to you as much as it does to me. Most any committed follower of Christ, reading this story, will surely have His words in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 37-40 come to mind:
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
As we each go through this busy Christmas season, I hope we will not be so busy that we fail to realize whenever we are being presented with a God-given opportunity for glorifying the Christ of Christmas by recognizing His presence in our midst.
STORY SOURCE: http://www.tonycooke.org/holiday-resources/christmas_illu
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/25.htm.
TONY COOKE'S WEBSITE: http://www.tonycooke.org/.