I met him on a cool November morning at an office building in Burlington, Vermont. It was just above freezing outside, but he sat snuggly in his chair with the window half open. He didn’t look like the average preacher-long hair, t-shirt, jeans.
Dave Russell is the founder of Burlington Street Ministries and works with the homeless, runaways, college agnostics and prostitutes. He has a few strikes against him but God uses him to pass out Bibles, feed and clothe the homeless and tell everyone about Jesus’ love. After 37 years, the ministry remains strong.
Jesus has a habit of choosing people with strikes. While in Samaria, he rests at a well and meets a woman whose strikes include her gender, race, and living situation-she’s living with a man and has a five time losing streak on the marriage field.
What could a woman of reputation possibly contribute to Jesus’ ministry? Seemingly not much, but when she tells everyone in town about him Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, He told me everything I ever did. (John 4:39)
The story is encouraging. My past and present strikes are numerous but they don’t count me out unless I let them. Jesus’ blood is sufficient to cover all past mistakes and his Spirit strengthens me to serve him presently. Others may reject me; he never will. Failures don’t disqualify us unless we choose to maintain a course of disobedience. Repentance and obedience make hits every time.
Prayer: Merciful God, when we’re depressed over the past, remind us our present and future are as bright as we let You make them.
copyright 2012, Martin Wiles
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