January 11, 2006

A Revelation of Jesus

1501 page26 cap FEW YEARS AGO, LIKE MANY people, I needed a job. I also needed transportation. In the local paper I noticed a Honda motorcycle for sale for $475. I hoped the owner might understand my financial situation and give me a break on the price.

I had a friend take me over to see the bike. I knocked on the door. A man introduced himself as John and told me about the motorcycle.

Because it would just meet my needs, I asked if he would consider taking $400 for it. But he made it clear that the price was firm. I told him I had only $400 and that when I had a job, I?d be happy to pay him the rest.

?I?ve never met you; I don?t know you,? John pointed out, ?and you want me to lend you $75? Sorry, but I can?t do that.?

Then John told me he worked for the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, and that they needed some help for end-of-the-year purchasing.

?We have a heavy workload, and we need temporary help for about five weeks. I?ll bring you an application,? he said. ?Maybe you?ll get the job and I?ll get my $75.?

Great, I thought, transportation and maybe a job, even if it?s only temporary.

Help in Measuring Up
A few days later John called me to come to his home and fill out the employment application. He let me sit at his diningroom table to fill it out. John told me that the application had to be perfect, because many people would be applying for the job.

1501 page26I felt my heart drop. With my luck they?d probably lose my application. John said he?d help me word it properly and even type it for me. I asked him what the job would be.

?Clerk/typist,? he answered.

Hearing that, I thought I should start learning to type. After many mistakes and revisions we finally had the application perfect. John said he would get me an appointment with the Personnel Department.

A few days later I got a call to come in to interview for the job. I borrowed a car and drove to downtown Los Angeles. As I entered the building I began to get nervous, thinking to myself, Will I get the job; won?t I get the job? No job meant no motorcycle.

Opening the door to the Personnel office, I gave my application to the Personnel officer and told him I was there for the job in the Acquisition and Materials Management Department. He made a copy of my application and told me to go to the tenth floor.

I rode the elevator nervously to the tenth floor. Entering the next office, I introduced myself, gave my application to the secretary, and sat down.

A moment later the head of the department came out to greet me. ?Mr. Hill,? she said, ?would you come into my office?? I followed her in and sat down. She looked at my application and told me that she wasn?t the person who would hire me.

?I?ll send in the senior contracting officer,? she said as she left the office.

Waiting in the office, hoping to be accepted, I heard someone come in and sit down. Looking up, I saw John sitting in the chair in front of me. He said, ?Mr. Hill, your application looks very good. I know we have a position for you here.?

I was astonished. God blessed me with that job for nine months.

Life and Life Lessons
I had left the church many years before, not wishing to make God look bad because of my sinful behavior. Growing up in the church, I had seen hypocrisy and knew its effects on young believers. I decided I would rather leave the church than bring shame on my Lord and Savior Jesus.

Questions for Reflection
Or for Use in Your Small Group

1. When have you been surprised by grace? Tell about it briefly.
2. How often is grace part of our everyday lives? How can Christians more effectively model grace?
3. Grade your local congregation?s grace orientation: Is it passing or failing? What would make it pass ?with flying
4. What is the most vivid demonstration of God?s grace to you in your daily life? What are you doing to reflect it to others?

Even though I had left Him, His providential love for me never wavered. My experience after leaving the church might well be described as ?wandering in the desert.? I kept feeling the need to return to Jesus, a deep inner need to go home. Then, years after my experience with John and the motorcycle, I finally understood the spiritual lesson in this story.

Jesus is the one who sees our need of forgiveness; Jesus is the one who prepares us; Jesus is our perfection; and Jesus makes us acceptable to be judged by the Father. In Jesus, by faith, the Father accepts us. We are made victorious in Jesus!

By faith and not by feelings I have the gift of eternal life because of my Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what a love He has for every one of us.

Jesus said: ?For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life? (John 3:16, NKJV).*

This is the revelation of Jesus to me. And I finally understood it when I remembered the story of John, the motorcycle, and the job.

Okay T. Hill writes from Rialto, California. He is the father of two and attends Loma Linda?s Campus Hill church.