Pastor Wrinkles: The Glory Of Story Pt. 8

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Jim Cymbala preaches at a church in the slums of New York. He tells the following story: It was Easter Sunday and I was so tired at the end of the day that I just went to the edge of the platform, pulled down my tie and sat down and draped my feet over the edge. It was a wonderful service with many people coming forward. The counselors were talking with these people.

As I was sitting there I looked up the middle aisle, and there in about the third row was a man who looked about fifty, disheveled, filthy. He looked up at me rather sheepishly, as if saying, “Could I talk to you?”

We have homeless people coming in all the time, asking for money or whatever. So as I sat there, I said to myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday. I’ve had such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow probably wanting some money for more wine.”

He walked up. When he got within about five feet of me, I smelled a horrible smell like I’d never smelled in my life. It was so awful that when he got close, I would inhale by looking away, and then I’d talk to him, and then look away to inhale, because I couldn’t inhale facing him. I asked him, “What’s your name?”


“How long have you been on the street?”

“Six years.”

“How old are you?”

“Thirty-two.” He looked fifty–hair matted; front teeth missing; wino; eyes slightly glazed.

“Where did you sleep last night, David?”

“Abandoned truck.”

I keep in my back pocket a money clip that also holds some credit cards. I fumbled to pick one out thinking; I’ll give him some money. I won’t even get a volunteer. They are all busy talking with others. Usually we don’t give money to people. We take them to get something to eat.

I took the money out. David pushed his finger in front of me. He said, “I don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking about, because I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die on the street.”

I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for myself. I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent to me. See how easy it is? I could make the excuse I was tired. There is no excuse. I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I was not feeling what God feels.

But oh, did that change! David just stood there. He didn’t know what was happening. I pleaded with God, “God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me. I am so sorry to represent You this way. I’m so sorry. Here I am with my message and my points, and You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!”

Something came over me. Suddenly I started to weep deeper, and David began to weep. He fell against my chest as I was sitting there. He fell against my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept on each other. The smell of His person became a beautiful aroma.  (excerpted from

God had a plan for Jim Cymbala.  God has a plan for you. Following the plan was a choice for Jim Cymbala. Following the plan is a choice for you. Following the plan cost Jim Cymbala. He had to put himself out. Following the plan is going to cost you. You will have to put yourself out.

How has God’s plan cost you recently?


20 thoughts on “Pastor Wrinkles: The Glory Of Story Pt. 8

  1. “There is no excuse. I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I was not feeling what God feels.” These words are sticking like glue, thank you, Pastor J for they need to. Lord, I pray that I see the lost as you see them and let me know your heart, Lord. Let me get out of the way so you can drive, Jesus! A-men!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I am reminded of a line from “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” …”break our hearts for what breaks Yours”. It makes me realize how blind and calloused I am to the world around me. Everyday I need Jesus to help me see as He sees and love as He loves. I pray I never overlook another opportunity to be a blessing to someone, in His name and for His glory!

  3. Good Morning
    This story brought tears to my eyes and heart
    My greatest hope and greatest fear is: “You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!”
    May we all be ready to extend God’s love and understand His Will for our life plan
    God Bless
    ps: I’ve really enjoyed this series – thank you

  4. Crying too, Pastor J. Praying to take the time with people, like He wants me to . . and not just already decide what they want from me from past experiences with them. What if this time, they want Jesus? Thank you and God bless you!

    • It is hard not to frame our current witness off of our experiences with the past. It is hard when God calls us to be faithful just once more when we have had so many once mores before.

  5. That was hard-hitting, but we need to be reminded that we don’t rightly use God-given opportunities if we cling to our own pre-conceived ideas. We need to be constantly in tune with Holy Spirit, depending on Him to put the right person in front of us and to give us the right attitude and the right words to speak.
    Thanks for the challenge.

    • So many times I have missed the God opportunity because I was too wrapped up in my plans. Yet He has never given up on me. HE keeps working to bring me closer…to make me more sensitive to His callings. We serve an amazing and very patient loving God

  6. POWERFUL!! Thank you for sharing! LORD prepare us to see as You do. Break our hearts and allow us to be refreshed in sweet aromas that one repulsed us. LORD change my hear and prepare it for Your Kingdom. Blessings to you jlillie as we are changed.

  7. Pingback: Learning to Get Messy for Jesus « Resting in His Grace

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