Saturday, October 30, 2010
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV)
One of the greatest parts of jail ministry is a thing we call “beanhole.” The beanhole is a small metal opening at about waist height in a cellblock door. It’s about 15” x 8” in size. Our adult detention center has 8 cellblocks, and throughout the week volunteers will go to the beanholes of the various cellblocks to visit with inmates. It is mostly a ministry of prayer, as we hold hands with the inmates through that narrow opening and cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ together. We also hand out Bibles, Christian literature and share the Gospel through the beanhole. The Holy Spirit performs amazing work through that little metal flap in the cellblock door. I cannot fit through it, but he sure can, and although inmates are locked in, he is not locked out.
I had the blessing this past Wednesday of seeing a man give his life to the Lord Jesus Christ through the beanhole. I wish I could have filmed it and posted it right here for you to see the joyous occasion. The Holy Spirit had been working hard on him. He came to the beanhole and asked for a Bible and prayer. I took the opportunity to ask him what his spiritual life was like. He began to share he had felt a heaviness in his heart for almost three months about turning his life over to Christ. He told me he planned on getting into a church as soon as he was out of jail and making things right.
I felt prompted to share with him that he need not wait. The Lord led me to 2 Corinthians 6:2 which I shared with him. He acknowledged he had already been putting it off too long. He took my hand and cried out to Jesus to come into his life right there. He asked for forgiveness, asked for Jesus to lead him in the right path. I felt like dancing down the halls of the county jail, but I wasn’t quite sure how the deputies would take that. I prayed for him as we still held hands and asked God to protect and lead him. What a moment!
God blessed me to see the spiritual re-birth of this man. Notice, I did none of the work. The Spirit led me into the jail and to a particular verse in Scripture. I simply had the pleasure to see this man be born into the kingdom of God. It reminds me of when my daughter Destiny was born. My wife went through 16 hours of grueling labor. Right at the end, the doctor showed up, caught my newborn daughter, cleaned her up and left. He did none of the work; he just had the pleasure of catching this beautiful newborn child. He was more like a catcher on a baseball team holding out his glove to catch the ball as it comes his way.
We need more catchers on God’s team! My “beanhole buddies” as I call them are an awesome group of people. None of them would lay claim to being awesome witnesses or preachers or Bible scholars. They are obedient followers of the Lord Jesus and have a heart for reaching out to the lost and hurting. More than anything, they are loyal and obedient, just showing up with a strong shoulder and attentive ear. Too many times we are intimidated in being witnesses because we are afraid of what we’ll say or how people will react. I cannot save anybody. I can’t pitch, I can’t hit and I can’t run. I am merely called to show up at home plate with my glove and be ready. The only way to truly fail is not to show up. Nobody warms the bench in God’s game unless they choose to. Let him use you this week!