We had finished our Sunday morning worship service. I preached that morning on missions and the witness of the Apostle Paul to the nations, his faithfulness in the ministry, and how he had fulfilled the purpose of God to testify of Christ to Rome—but not in the way he had planned. Afterward, while my wife rested, I went out to buy some things in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors that I didn’t know was selling some food, so I ordered a couple of plates to take home.
This man must have thought that I was trying to swindle him because he started saying that the money I was giving him was fake. When I heard him say that, and in order not to enter into a disagreement, I went home to get some different money in order to return and pay for what I had ordered.
But while I was gone, the man did something that surprised me. He called the police and accused me of fraud. The police arrived just as I had returned to pay what I owed him. They registered me as a suspect and when they didn’t find anything suspicious, they decided to take me to the police station so that I could give a formal testimony there.
Up that this point, I was still feeling at peace and confident about what was going on, even though I knew that anything could happen that could potentially complicate my situation. Often, police officers here tend to put things in your pockets in order to later accuse you and then bribe you. In my mind, I was thinking about what Paul said about the authorities that God has put in place for the punishment of evildoers, and I was convinced that this was not the case for me.
But above all, I considered at that moment that this was happening because the Lord had allowed it to happen this way in order for me to learn to trust him a little more. I was presented before the sergeant and he asked me for my documents, which I didn’t have. At that moment, I thought I might possibly end up going to jail because they left it up to the neighbor to decide whether or not to continue pressing charges. I entrusted myself to the Lord and asked Him to do His will.
In the end, the neighbor ceased with his accusations against me and they allowed me to leave the police station—but with the warning that if anything like that happened again they would put me in jail. Daily, we are exposed to different dangers. There are the dangers relating to sickness; dangers with regard to the high crime rates; dangers of being wrongly accused and suffering unjustly.
I left the police station at the same time as the neighbor. I wanted to guard my heart against every form of resentment and I shared the gospel with him. I reasoned with myself, “Today he is accusing me, but this man is also being accused and he will be found guilty of sin. If he doesn’t repent there will be no pronouncement of pardon in the final day.”
Although he did not express any faith in Christ, what is true is that there are many like him who remain in need of hearing the gospel. I was reminded recently that no one is ever saved apart from words. No, we must preach the gospel of Christ. As believers, we have the command from the Lord to bear witness to the gospel. People will not be saved merely by our good testimony or our good behavior. We must speak of Christ. Glory to God for all that happened that day and for the different ways He teaches us what we must never forget.