Several years ago, I was traveling down Hill Avenue and I turned into Harmon's store, and when I came out, I turned left. When I got down to Church’s Chicken, a young man ran out and shouted, “Mister. You’re going the wrong way.”
He didn’t ask me how much education I had or where I went to school, he just shouted, “mister. You’re going the wrong way.” Although he didn’t know anything about me, he knew I was going the wrong way.
After I prayed as is my custom, I read a portion of Mathew the fifth chapter the next morning from the Message, the new Eugene Peterson version, and it read: “When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, He climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, His companions, this is what He said: 'You’re blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and His rule.'
"You are blessed when you feel you have lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re who you are no more, no less. That is the moment you find yourselves owners of everything that can’t be bought. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. You are blessed when you care. At the moment of being care-full, you find yourself being cared for.
“You are blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart put right, then you can see God in the outside world.
"You are blessed when you can show people how to cooperate and not to compete or fight. That is when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. You are blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s Kingdom.
"Count yourself blessed every time people put you down or throw you out to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.
"You can be glad when that happens — give a cheer. Though they don’t like it, I do. And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten in this kind of trouble.”
Then I read Matthew 28:18, Jesus, undeterred went right ahead and gave His charge: "God authorized and commended me to train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all that I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
When I read that, I remembered what the young man said to me, “You’re going the wrong way.”
He was right, I was going the wrong way.
Floyd Rose is senior servant of Serenity Church.